SHS Drinks said the new addition – Merrydown Crisp Apple Cider – has an abv of 5.5%. It also has 30% fewer calories, no artificial colours or flavours and no added sugar, as it is sweetened naturally with apple juice. As a result the cider has a drier and lighter flavour profile.
The cider, which is aimed at those weekday ‘relaxing at the end of the day’ moments, is described on its label as ‘Crisp, light & refreshing – a delicious way to enjoy one of life’s little pleasures’.
Alongside this activity, SHS is relaunching its flagship 7.5% abv Merrydown Vintage Medium Cider, which will be renamed as Merrydown Original Vintage Apple Cider. The variant will be presented in a new bottle design to align it with the appearance of the new Merrydown Crisp Apple packaging. The bottle will continue to be a 75cl sharing format.
Amanda Grabham, head of brand marketing for alcohol at SHS Drinks, said: Despite take home glass bottled cider sales dipping by 5–7% in value and volume over the past year, heritage ciders are continuing to perform well with volume sales up by 13%.
“This surge in consumer interest in quality, craft, traditional and heritage cider plays directly to Merrydown’s strengths as an established brand which already has a loyal and broad consumer base – unusually for a heritage cider brand it appeals to both higher affluence shoppers who are seeking authenticity, as well as to ‘on a budget’ shoppers because the 75cl sharing bottle offers an excellent tasting cider at great value for money when compared on a pence per litre basis to other heritage cider brands in 50cl bottles.
“With the relaunch of Merrydown Original Vintage Cider and the new bottle and label design we are getting back to Merrydown’s roots and dialing up the inherent and quality cues, while the introduction of Merrydown Crisp Apple is aimed at broadening the appeal of the brand further and opening up new consumption opportunities and occasions among consumers who prefer a lighter, drier tasting cider.”