The family-owned producer said it grew share by 0.8% over the past year (IRI, CGA and HMRC data) and off-trade sales grew 26% in value to £21.8 million (IRI, year to March 1).
New listings at major retailers and a summer heatwave sparked the growth, but Westons said it will continue to invest to ensure it retains momentum,
Head of marketing Ian Lewis said: “The cider market is buoyant but challenging, but we have seen a remarkable year for our business.
“We launched Stowford Press into the off-trade and we have distribution in all the major multiples – and we’re not stopping there.
“We need to get it in front of people so we are back on TV from May to September with a new creative campaign. Last year featured urban drinking outlets, but now we are going back to our more rural roots. We are investing more than £3.5 million in Stowford Press over the year.”
Drinkers of Henry Westons vintaged cider can win a trip to a jazz festival in New Orleans in an on-pack promotion.
During the hot, dry spell in the four weeks to July 20 last year, cider sales were up 37% on the average for the year (IRI) and it also led to a strong harvest.
But this year floods and storms have battered the West Country.
Westons’ commercial director Roger Jackson said: “It’s been horrendous with the storms and the flooding. The recent drier weather we have had will help but it will still be a couple of months before we can really assess the size and scale of damage.”
But he added that chancellor George Osborne scrapping the duty escalator in last month’s budget will help the beleaguered industry, saying: “We now hope that this might be seen as an indicator by the government for stability in the industry.”