CIDER, of all types,traditionally does well in summer. So, with some decent weather to enjoy this year, was it a boom time for cider brands and retailers?
Well, the football didn’t exactly help. Scotland’s non-participation in the World Cup finals and England’s early exit look to have diminished match-linked long drinks consumption. But otherwise summer was indeed good for some of the cider firms, who are also looking forward to the opportunities that autumn and winter festivals will bring.
At C&C group, owner of Magners, K and several other cider brands, head of customer marketing Ed Shoebridge said increased consumer confidence had instilled optimism throughout the drinks industry but the World Cup had delivered modest gains at best. But more regular activity by the company had gone well.
“K Cider went through a brand refresh at the beginning of the summer and has been doing particularly well in impulse channels in Scotland ever since,” he said.
Nielsen figures for the 12 weeks to 16 August are said to show K up 250% in value and 284% in Scottish impulse outlets, with the 500ml four-pack the best performing leading pack.
“Magners Original 500ml four-pack can has been our strongest summer performer, up 66% in terms of volume and 40% in terms of value over the 12 weeks,” Shoebridge said. “Our flagship brand has been performing strongly in the impulse channel thanks to a resurgence in the apple cider segment. The summer months have witnessed a 3% increase in the total apple cider category in terms of value and 5% in terms of volume.
“This summer we launched the new-look Magners Orchard Berries to the UK off-trade. Following the success of our PMP Magners Original 500ml four-pack can we will be launching a Magners Orchard Berries 500ml four pack PMP to the off-trade in October.
“Our support won’t stop with the end of the summer. We’ll continue to build on our off-trade offering to capitalise on big occasions that are in the pipeline such as Halloween, Christmas and the New Year.”
• At award-winning traditional Somerset cider maker Sheppy’s the firm said summer 2014 had turned out very well.
David Sheppy said: “More and more consumers are discovering what a great drink cider is and we are making sure that they know who Sheppy’s are, through business development, PR and increased activity to communicate our brand to consumers.
“Flavoured ciders are in growth. This is not our focus at Sheppy’s as our approach to cider is always on making the highest-quality traditional British cider. We have though ventured a little into this market with our Sheppy’s Raspberry Cider in 330ml and 500ml bottles, keg and 20 litre bag in box. This has performed well with steady growth and has won Sheppy’s some new listings.
“Our emphasis at Sheppy’s is always on quality cider, when we step into new areas and if we can achieve this, we can then look at new product development. We feel that we have done this with our raspberry cider.”
Are we likely to see the development of a craft lager scene, along the lines of the booming craft beer market?
There are definitely rumblings of a craft cider revolution, Sheppy said. But he’s concerned at the possible misuse of the word “craft”.
“We need to ensure that craft cider keeps its identity and is not abused. Sheppy’s truly is a craft cider and we need to ensure that consumers know what craft means when associated with cider.
“We have just trialled Sheppy’s Mulled on our stand at Speciality & Fine Food Fair,” he explained.
“The reaction was extremely positive and so we are about to launch this ahead of the autumn and festive period. It’s a blend of our traditional Sheppy’s cider with the balanced addition of mulling spices, including nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves.”