How is the strong cider category performing?

While cider sales have been marginally impacted by the wet weather throughout spring, overall, the cider category has grown by 1.7% in the last 12 weeks1. With summer fast approaching and promise of warmer weather, Aston Manor anticipates that the cider category will continue to grow.

What is driving category growth?

Strong cider (+7.96%) is driving growth within the cider category and is in fact outperforming total cider sales (+1.7%)2. This growth is a result of changing shopper behaviours that have largely been influenced by the cost-of-living crisis. This has subsequently meant shoppers are swapping spirits for cider3, which is likely due to consumers having less disposable income.

Is affordability a major trend right now?

Shoppers continue to be wary even as food price inflation continues to fall. Therefore, shoppers will remain cautious with their spending as their total outgoings also feel the weight of rising bills elsewhere, for example, across TV, broadband, car insurance and water4.

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.

How is the Knights Cider brand performing?

Knights Cider (+76.31%) has significantly outperformed the cider category (+1.7%) in the last 12 weeks5. Therefore, it is little surprise that Knights Cider is now the UK’s number one strong amber cider brand6. The strong amber brand has also recorded over 12 million cans sold annually7, with Knights seeing a 54% increase in shopper numbers year-on-year8.

To what do you attribute the brand’s success?

The growth of Knights Cider over the past few years has been entirely organic, with 2024 being the first year that we have invested in the brand with trade and shopper marketing support. Crafted for those who appreciate a great cider without breaking the bank, our cider is a testament to simplicity and accessibility.

How will the brand be supported this year?

Aston Manor has supported wholesalers nationwide with POS depot displays whilst continuing to drive brand visibility through trade press advertising. This summer, we are focusing our attention on delivering regional focused distribution drives by visiting independent retailers to boost brand awareness of Knights Cider.

How can retailers maximise cider sales this summer?

It is important to stock both bottles and cans to provide choice for consumers. Frosty Jack’s and Crumpton Oaks Cider come in both pack formats and we recommend wholesalers and retailers dual stock plastic bottled products alongside cans to help attract more footfall.

Further to that, the impressive growth of strong cider signals an opportunity for wholesalers to increase their strong cider offering, with a greater variety of choice once again helping to boost sales.

An eye-catching display can also help to entice new customers and encourage them to spend. Customers especially like to see something new, therefore, tying merchandising into summer is one way to illustrate creativity and draw shoppers’ attention to the variety of products on offer. If wholesalers do this, retailers will thus follow suit.

Do you have any NPD to talk about?

An exciting new launch is our Knights Vintage Cider 500ml glass bottle. Launched in February this year, Knights Vintage Cider has been crafted by our master cider maker from a blend of the finest bittersweet apples. With an ABV of 8.4%, this cider embodies the expertise that defines Herefordshire’s cider-making legacy. A 4.5% growth in the premium cider market9 is also reason to add this fine-tasting cider to your chiller range.


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