• Transform magazine
  • March 30, 2020


Storytelling and sustainability emphasised in craft cider rebrand

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Cider is a success. That much has been made clear both in the UK and more widely. In Britain, the cider market accounts for £3.1bn per year – three times the size of the British sea fishing industry. Around the world, cider is growing in popularity, spurred on by interest in craft production and creative taste profiles. Supporting that growth is a change in brand design and sustainability communications for one of Britain’s oldest craft cider producers, Westons.

The company behind such brands as Caple Rd, Mortimer’s Orchard and Stowford Press, Westons has a strong standing both in the UK and in key markets across Europe. It is also moving into the US with its craft drinker-friendly Caple Rd cider and into Australia with its Mortimer’s Orchard brand. However, responding to market trends that point to a greater percentage of cider being purchased on draught and a consolidation in the market among the big, international players, Westons has unveiled new branding for Stowford Press and Rosie’s Pig, two of its key ranges.

All of these changes reflect shifting attitudes to drinking and shifting needs on the part of consumers. Packaging and taste have always been key considerations, but now customers are examining the provenance of their drinks, the business practices behind the label and the authentic credentials of the brands they choose to buy.

Last year, Westons launched Stowford Press Mixed Berries, a response to the massive interest in fruit ciders. Its annual Cider Report found that competitor Strongbow’s Dark Fruit product is now the number two cider across the UK. Westons – which set the ambition to see 25% of its portfolio to be comprised of new products – thus launched Mixed Berries to increase its presence with that growing market segment.

And the proof was in the cider. It exceeded itself by nearly doubling the expected profits. This year, the Stowford Press line is getting a brand update, developed by Cheltenham-based studio Hurricane Design. With more contemporary lines and a brighter, sunnier yellow and a more vibrant purple, the brand is striving for better standout. It has also introduced new 3D tap lenses which create a more engaging experience for bar goers. “We’re driving standout of the brand and driving its premium positioning,” Sally McKinnon, head of brands at Westons Cider, says. She adds that the 3D lenses are an “opportunity to interact with consumers in the pub environment. The point of purchase presence is important.”

“The eye-catching new branding for Stowford Press has been developed to draw attention at the bar,” says Westons' brand manager Holly Chadwick. “The updated look and striking pump clips will strengthen the brand’s positioning as a premium mainstream option and make it even easier for cider drinkers to recognise Stowford Press in outlets.”

The new pack also tells more of the Westons story, emphasising the company’s craft credentials in subtle cues related to its quality and provenance. The integration of the Westons name into individual product brands helps tie the range together, while also capitalising on the heritage and authenticity offered by Westons as a craft cider maker.

Rosie’s Pig gets the same treatment and a design update with a quirky new illustrated delivery truck icon and a licence plate-inspired wordmark. The new approach focuses on building Westons credibility in the fruit cider category. The brand itself “heroes the pig,” McKinnon says – the nickname for the company’s first delivery truck.

The Stowford Press packs are now plastic free for the first time, emphasising a shift in communications strategy the company is undertaking. “A lot of our customers are asking us about it,” says Darryl Hinksman, head of business development, adding that the company was actually being criticised for not talking about its sustainability efforts – which are plentiful. “It was hidden. We’ve kept it secret.”

But, because of the consideration drinkers are now placing on ethical business operations, Westons is introducing new transparency around its sustainability programme. Its premises are almost entirely closed-loop in terms of water usage and waste elimination. It sends no waste to landfill and has introduced FSC-certified packaging. It even runs a wildlife refuge at its Herefordshire site.