Heritage cider brand Merrydown is launching a new 4% ABV blackcurrant cider in 500ml bottles – an exciting new product development which combines the three most dynamic and fastest-growing segments of the £922 million take home cider category: heritage cider, flavoured cider and 500ml glass bottles.
Merrydown Blackcurrant Cider, which is being rolled out by SHS Drinks across the off-trade and will be available from early October, spearheads the company’s plans to develop a range of ‘hedgerow’ ciders under the Merrydown brand name. Described as “a light and juicy blackcurrant cider with a fruity nose”, the 500ml bottles of the 4% ABV Merrydown Blackcurrant Cider have an RRP of £2.19.*
The arrival of the latest new line follows the launch of a Merrydown Medium 6% ABV cider in 500ml bottles in the spring. Both are being supported through consumer PR, digital activity, food matching initiatives, sampling and free POS kits which include posters, shelf-barkers and wobblers, and Merrydown-branded floor vinyl footprints which can be used to direct people to the cider fixture. The activity is underpinned by the campaign strapline: ‘One Sip. Many a knowing grin explained’.
Amanda Grabham, Head of Marketing for Merrydown Cider, says: “It’s still early days as the new Merrydown Medium 6% ABV cider was only launched at in May, but the initial rates of sale are very encouraging. In one of the first multiple grocers to list the brand, Merrydown Medium 6% ABV already has the fourth highest rate of sale in the heritage cider sector, ahead of variants such as Thatchers Gold and Katy, and Westons Wyld Wood Organic.4”
Outlining the rationale for the pre-Christmas launch of Merrydown Blackcurrant, Grabham says: “The growth in consumer interest and sales of flavoured cider has been phenomenal. The £150 million flavoured cider sector2 is still very much in its ascendancy with sales volume up by 55% and value by 46% in the past 12 months2, taking its share of premium glass bottled cider sales to 35% (volume) and 41% (value).3
“The £47 million heritage cider sector, which is dominated by four brands – Merrydown, Thatchers, Westons and Aspall account for an 85% share of heritage cider sales1, is also performing well with value sales up by 6% in the past year.2 And in terms of pack formats the biggest growth in the cider category is coming from 500ml/568ml glass bottles which have seen year-on-year volume and value growths of 26% and 27%, respectively.
“Merrydown Blackcurrant ticks all of these boxes and it introduces a traditional ‘hedgerow’ flavour which is in keeping with the character of the brand. Creating new flavours is at the core of our NPD programme for Merrydown, and we plan to extend the range further next year with more new flavour additions and seasonal lines.”