• Transform magazine
  • October 19, 2018

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Mixed berries and fruit mix things up in cider category

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“The feedback that we’ve had on our [corporate rebranding] has surpassed our expectation. It has made a huge difference to how our business is perceived,” UK cider maker Westons’ head of UK sales, Geoff Bradman says of the rebrand the company underwent last year. That shift in brand, combined with an increase in the consumption of cider, has led to changes at one of the UK’s oldest cider makers.

Like most alcohol categories, cider is experiencing an increase in craft production as well as an increased interest in the heritage of a brand and the provenance of a product. Westons’ rebrand allowed it to promote its Hertfordshire roots, traditional methods and organic approach.

Similarly, there has been a shift within the category toward mixed fruits or berry ciders. This shift has allowed traditional, mass market and craft distillers to reach new audiences – namely young women – and reinvigorate their portfolios with fresh products. Draught fruit cider, sold in pubs, has grown by 41.4% year-on-year. That increase is echoed in off-trade sales environments, but to a slightly lesser extent. Major players like Carling and Strongbow have cornered the draught market thus far with their dark fruits products.

But Weston’s is upping its game. It has announced the launch of a new fruit-based sub-brand, Stowford. Press Mixed Berries. The launch features similar branding across all touchpoints to the original Stowford Press branding, but it uses a rich reddish-pink as its primary colour. A dark purple – common in fruit ciders – complements the gold of the Stowford Press palette. “It’s important that we develop not just the core brands, but the new generation brands as well,” Sally McKinnon, head of brands at Westons says about the launch. The drinks stays true to the dry, crisp apple taste of Stowford Press cider, but with the addition of fruit flavours.

The product launched nationally in April and will be supported by a brand campaign, in-pub experiences and national PR.