New drink is in high spirits

Firm hopes to tap into spirit-flavoured cider category

• SHS Drinks says the emerging spirit-flavoured cider category could be worth £50m by 2018.

THE firm behind Merrydown is expanding its cider range this month with the launch of a new spirit-flavoured product.

Orwell’s is a 5.5% ABV amaretto-flavoured cider, available in 330ml bottles and targeted at 18-30 year-old consumers.
The new cider arrives a year after parent company SHS launched spirit-flavoured beer (or ‘speer’) brand Dead Crow.
SHS Drinks said it believes the new spirit-flavoured cider (or ‘spider’) category could be worth as much as £50 million in the UK within the next four years.
The firm recommends licensees sell bottles of Orwell’s for £3.80 each.
Mark Hopper, head of innovation and development at SHS Drinks, said the continued popularity of flavoured ciders shows there is still “plenty of stretch within the cider category”.
“Entering the ‘spider’ category is not something we have rushed into as it’s been important for us to create an exciting and motivating flavour profile which pushes the boundaries and is a little unusual,” said Hopper.
“We’ve been developing Orwell’s and have been talking to customers about the ‘spiders’ opportunity for around a year.
“During this time we have been fine-tuning the balance of the flavours, whilst also gaining valuable consumer and market insights from the launch of our bourbon and rum-flavoured spirit beers.”
Launch support for the new brand will focus on in-outlet sampling, as well as point of sale materials such as posters and tent cards.
Advertising and sponsorships are planned for later in the year.
Hopper said the product is “more likely to be purchased for higher energy, brand-in-hand social occasions than the mellower, lower-key social occasions usually associated with cider”.