How has the cider category been performing over the last year?

The cider category has performed well over the last year. For example, Crumpton Oaks has had a particularly successful 2020 with growth of 14% YOY (IRI data to 27th December 2020) driven by symbols and independents. This is due to more consumers shopping locally and being more price conscious.

What shopper trends are driving the market?

The UK is sensibly planning for tough times ahead. 61% of households are concerned about a long recovery following the impact of COVID. 70% of households are now paying attention to prices* and delaying big purchases. An ‘affordability reset’ is upon all of us, and for some, that will mean switching from mainstream brands to great value alternatives such as Crumpton Oaks, so wholesalers have a role to play in supporting retailers in this opportunity.

* Dohler, Consumer Mega Trends Shaping 2021+

How have Aston Manor’s brands been performing?

Our brands have provided excellent shopper solutions during the pandemic. We were able to offer a suite of solutions for every shopper type; ranging from premium brands such as Friels & Malvern Cider Co, through to great value offerings in Crumpton Oaks and Frosty Jack’s. As shopper’s purse strings became understandably tighter, they were able to trade up or down between our brands based on their personal affordability at that time. I hope that by being there for our shoppers during the throes of lockdown have allowed them to build long-term connections with our brands.

How is Aston Manor committed to social and environmental responsibility?

We’ve always adopted a sustainable approach and consistently set new standards for ourselves as sustainability is at the heart of everything we do at Aston Manor Cider.

For example, we planted 1,000 acres of new orchards, with 400,000 trees added to the landscape.

Backing our green agenda has seen investment of more than £30m in the last five years, with a further £6m invested in 2020.

The focus of this work is to enhance the environment and to enable even greater product quality. The orchard planting scheme has dramatically increased the supply of quality bittersweet apple juice available to the team of cider makers.

Other examples of our focus on sustainability include, delivering on the commitment of no waste to landfill ahead of schedule, replacing shrink-wrap and other plastic packaging with cardboard equivalents, switching to 51% recycled content in all large pack (PET) bottles – this move alone will save around 1,000 tonnes of raw material annually, meaning 25million fewer plastic bottles made from original material.

Plus, a unique engineering solution and partnership with Severn Trent Water means 85,000 litres of water are saved every day of fruit pressing (around 12 weeks during Autumn) at the fruit handling/pressing facility. The business is also determined to improve education and increase social responsibility around alcohol whether people choose to drink or not. For example, we have a three-year social sustainability partnership with the Alcohol Education Trust.

What are the key Aston Manor products that wholesalers should be stocking?

Our three key products for wholesalers are Frosty Jack’s, Crumpton Oaks and our perry, Chardolini.

How do you work with wholesalers to grow sales?

Our team help wholesalers get the right stock, when they need it and provide a range of pack formats across our key wholesale brands to ensure they can meet the needs of their retail customers.

Do you have any merchandising advice for wholesalers to grow sales?

A third of shoppers only ever buy cider in cans so it is important wholesalers stock both bottles and cans to provide choice for retailers and consumers. Frosty Jack’s and Crumpton Oaks Cider come in both pack formats, and we recommend retailers dual stock plastic bottled products alongside cans, to help attract more customers into stores, so wholesalers can help here.

What are your plans for the Crumpton Oaks brand?

Crumpton Oaks, is launching a four-pack pint can to broaden the brand’s consumer base, attract new shoppers to the category and reinforce its quality and value proposition.

Launching in a £4 price-marked pack of four 568ml cans, Crumpton Oaks offers great value to shoppers at a pound a pint.

Do you have any other NPD to talk about?

This year, Crumpton Oaks, launched a unique Cherry & Berry range and a Dark Fruit variant in a larger pack format (2L PET).

Available in a 4 x 440ml carded can multi-pack and 2 litre PET bottle, Crumpton Oaks Cherry & Berry Cider is a first-to-market launch across multiple Retail, Convenience and Wholesale channels, taking cues from traditional British fruit favourites within the juice and squash market.

What marketing activity do you have planned?

We offer a suite of solutions for every shopper type; ranging from premium brands such as Friels & Malvern Cider Co, through to great value offerings in Crumpton Oaks and Frosty Jack’s. Our brand marketing is therefore targeted to very different shopper types. Frosty Jack’s and Crumpton Oaks communicates a great value message to consumers, with well-loved and award-winning liquids, whilst our premium brands, Malvern Cider Co. & Friels celebrate the best in local cider making.


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