SHS Drinks is rolling the cider out in 50cl bottles, rrp £2.19, and 8x50cl multipacks.
Free sampling and POS kits including posters, shelf-barkers and wobblers and Merrydown-branded vinyl footprints which can be used to direct people to the cider fixture, will support the launch – along with a consumer PR campaign, food-matching initiatives and digital activity with the strapline: “One sip. Many a knowing grin explained.”
Head of marketing Amanda Grabham said: “The growth in consumer interest and sales of flavoured cider has been phenomenal. The £150 million flavoured cider sector is still very much in its ascendancy, with sales volume up by 55% and value by 46% in the past 12 months.
“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 sales – is also performing well, with value sales up by 6% in the past year. And in terms of pack formats the biggest growth in the cider category is coming from 50cl and 56.8cl glass bottles which have seen year-on-year volume and value growths of 26% and 27%, respectively, according to Nielsen.
“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.”