Households are still concerned about the cost-of-living crisis and consequently have had to tighten their belts.

This means affordability is currently a huge trend.

With this in mind, Aston Manor continues to push its value brands, such as Crumpton Oaks.

Calli O’Brien, Head of Marketing at Aston Manor Cider, tells Wholesale Manager what are the major trends and developments affecting the cider category and how the Crumpton and Frosty brands will be supported this summer.

What are your key products that wholesalers should be stocking?

A third of shoppers only ever buy cider in cans1, so it is important that wholesalers stock both bottles and cans to provide choice for retailers. Frosty Jack’s and Crumpton Oaks Cider come in both pack formats.

Offering more affordability to customers as they look to tighten their belts is the new range of Frosty Jack’s PET packs. The new packs come in at a number of different recommended retail price points to help provide shoppers with better value without trading down on quality. This is especially important given that rising food and drink prices is the top concern for almost half (49%) of shoppers2.

The Frosty Jack’s RRSP range includes a 1L bottle price marked at £2.99, a 1.5L bottle price marked at £3.99, and a larger 2.5L offering price marked at £5.99. Non priced marked options are also available. The price marked packs provide reassurance that shoppers are not being overcharged3.

What sets your brand apart from others?

We work closely with our wholesale customers to offer retailers a strong range of products that provide customers with several different products at various price points. The aim is to ensure there are different levels of affordability to shoppers to match their requirements. It is key that we continue to supply customers with their favourite products.

Knights Cider is now the UK’s number one strong amber cider brand4. This premium quality cider has been crafted by our master cider maker from a blend of our finest bittersweet and dessert apples for a refreshing medium dry taste at 8.4% ABV.

The strong amber brand has also recorded over 12 million cans sold annually5, with Knights seeing a 54% increase in shopper numbers year-on-year6. To put this achievement into context, it comes at a time when total cider sales have declined by 7%6.

What are the major trends and developments affecting your category and your customers, and how are you responding?

Affordability is a huge trend at the moment with economic climate. Value cider is in 3.07% growth, ahead of mainstream at 1.43% growth.7 With this in mind, we continue to push our value brands, such as Crumpton Oaks, out in the market and reach consumers through multiple touchpoints such as out of home advertising and video on demand.

It’s been well documented that as a nation we’re already facing challenging times due to the cost-of-living crisis. Consumer confidence stabilised, but remained negative, with an improvement from -25 to -8 from December 2022 to December 20238. Households are still concerned about the cost-of-living crisis and, as a result, decision making around expenditure is being heavily impacted.

Therefore, it is no surprise that 72% of UK households are now impacted by the rising costs of food and drink9. 1.3m households are also at risk of falling below the poverty line, as analysts report that household costs for families with two children have risen by £400 a month10.

The reality is we are all making savings to varying extents. Not just to make ends meet, but to also be able to afford the things we value most. As a result, 94% of consumers have stated they would consider switching to a cheaper alternative11.

We are seeing growth in the Strong category as a result of shopper purchasing behaviour changing due to cost of living. This growth is being driven by shoppers trading out of spirits and into cider12, which speculatively is probably due to shoppers having less disposable income.

As a result of this switching, strong cider is performing ahead of the category in 10.35% growth.13 Due to this and in particular the organic growth of Knights Cider, we are investing in trade and consumer marketing for the brand for the first time, including depot activation and trade advertising to put the brand in front of as many retailers as possible.

Aston Manor’s ethos is all around affordability. We are here for shoppers, helping them to save with our affordable cider, allowing them to focus their spend on what really matters. Our range provides shoppers with an affordable, great-tasting solution, so they can be assured they are not compromising when needing to spend a little less cash on cider.

Is the cider category in growth, if so, what is driving it?

While Beers, Wines and Spirits have remained in decline (-5.0%) over the past 52 weeks14, the cider category (-7.4%) has continued to outperform ales (8.2%)15. Meanwhile, over the past 12 weeks, data suggests Cider (-6.0%) and Lager (-5.8%) are performing similarly to Beers, Wines and Spirits, sitting at -4.7%.

While the cider market is generally performing similarly to Beers, Wines and Spirits, it’s worth noting that flavoured cider is down -13% and declining ahead of the total market16. This suggests that drinkers are moving away from flavoured ciders in favour of more traditional recipes. A prime example of this is Crumpton Oaks , which is the number one value apple cider brand in GB impulse17.

Cider category is beginning to improve and has seen a 3.71% value growth MAT.18 We hope to see this curve continue upwards into the busy summer months with lots of events this summer including the Euros, so we would encourage Wholesalers to stock up on beers and cider and create themed displays to really catch the eye of the retailers.

How do Aston Manor’s products meet shopper demand for affordability?

As alluded to in our earlier answer on trends, Aston Manor’s ethos is all around affordability. Even with inflation slowing down, 61% households are still concerned at the rising cost of groceries.19

Crumpton Oaks retains its title as the no.1 value cider brand in the impulse channel.20 It offers shoppers great value for money with its 4-pint cans for £4.99 offering.

Crumpton Oaks is an iconic and well-loved brand made from apples blended with the juice from crisp dessert apples to achieve a mighty refreshing taste. Achieving silver at the World Cider Awards, its bold flavour profile has generated strong consumer appeal; therefore, by stocking Crumpton Oaks, wholesalers and retailers can expect to see an uplift in their sales. Not to mention, Crumpton Oaks contains 5% ABV, making it a preferential choice for those retailers whose sales may be restricted due to high strength laws.

How do you work with wholesalers to help them grow sales?

We are currently running a competition on Crumpton Oaks to drive retailers into depot offering the chance for one lucky store to win a grand prize every time they stock up on any case of Crumpton Oaks. The prize package will include a Crumpton Oaks branded chiller worth over £2,000, along with stock of the UK’s number one value apple cider brand20.

To be in with a chance of winning, retailers and wholesalers need to purchase a qualifying case of Crumpton Oaks cider, including PMP, plain and PET bottles, and upload a valid invoice to before 30th June. To further incentivise entrants, there are no limits on entries with one invoice per entry permitted*.]

*T&Cs apply:

What marketing support do you currently have for your brands?

We are investing in POS in depots across all of our brands, while providing digital marketing support for wholesalers. Aston Manor is continuing to drive brand awareness with trade advertising. A burst of distribution drives visiting retailers and placing POS in stores to really disrupt shoppers at point of purchase.

How will the Crumpton and Frosty brands be supported this summer?

Our Straight Outta Crumpton campaign returns to the screen for a 3rd year running in the form of VOD & OOH advertising. To celebrate the return, Aston Manor Cider is launching a nationwide trade campaign offering retailers the chance to win a chiller worth £2,000, full of stock.

To celebrate the return of Straight Outta Crumpton to screens this spring, Aston Manor Cider is launching a retailer competition, offering the chance for one lucky store to win a grand prize.

Aston Manor’s successful advertising campaign, Straight Outta Crumpton, is a play on N.W.A’s ‘Straight Outta Compton’ hit. It sees Aston Manor bring to life the world of cider through the lens of hip-hop, from break dancers and low riders to golden mouth grills, and DJ decks. The campaign will be on screens for the third year in a row from May until July.

Frosty Jack’s will also be running a nationwide shopper campaign offering the chance for Shoppers to win one of 10,000 Frosty Jack’s branded ice cube trays when they purchase any bottle or can over the summer period.

Summer 2024 will also see the return of Frosty Jack’s successful Hans Handerson campaign. Encouraging customers to Crack Open the Unexpected with Frosty Jack’s, the tongue-in-cheek advert injects both fun and personality into the cider category with the world’s “most famous” Z-list celebrity hands model – Hans Handerson. It tracks the former hand actor reliving his glory days and showing off some of his iconic moves while promoting Frosty Jack’s. Audiences can expect to see Hans soon when Frosty Jack’s returns to both video on demand and OOH later this summer.


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