magners with whiskey

Drinks suppliers insist the ‘spiders’ - spirits ciders - market has legs, but admit it has yet to make a big impact on the off-trade market.

Magners is this week making its debut in the fledgling spiders category with Magners with Irish whiskey, a 5.5% abv drink rolling out to Asda in single 500ml bottles that each contain 25ml of whiskey.

Industry insiders said the arrival of an established brand was good news for the market.

“It demonstrates Magners can see the growth potential afforded by this emerging sector,” said Mark Hopper, head of innovation & development at SHS Drinks, which last year rolled out 5.5% abv amaretto-flavoured cider Orwell’s.

“It’s still very early days, so there is plenty of scope for development in terms of spirit flavours, abvs and bottle sizes,” he said, adding SHS stood by its previous prediction the category would be worth £50m by 2018.

Orwell’s activity had been focused on the on-trade, said SHS, but the company was now talking to retailers about a rollout into take-home.

Hi-Spirits, which launched tequila-flavoured spider Manzana Loca in 2013, echoed SHS’ views. It said the brand had so far been established primarily in the on-trade, but was popular in independent off-licences and c-stores.

Hi-Spirits is relaunching the brand in spring in reaction to consumer demand for authenticity that MD Dan Bolton said was shaping the drinks market. “We’ll be reformulating Manzana Loca with genuine tequila in the recipe,” he said.