The Gaymer Cider Company has overhauled its Blackthorn cider brand - slashing its alcohol content, giving it a sweeter taste and revamping its packaging - in a bid to bring it more into line with modern tastes.

The company has reduced the abv of the new version, which is being rolled out across the on and off-trade now, from 5.5% to 4.7%.

It has also given the drink a "fruitier and more refreshing" taste" and a new look emphasising the brand's West Country heritage. Cans feature a 'From English cider apples' logo, which shows an apple tree image against a sunset background. The typeface has been updated, but retains the distinctive 'thorn' at the bottom of the 'T'.

Blackthorn's relaunch followed months of "rigorous research among a mix of 650 Blackthorn loyalists and potential new consumers", said Peter Spencer, managing director of the Gaymer Cider Company, which is owned by Constellation Brands.

"I believe there is great growth potential with this brand as the relaunch will broaden its consumer appeal," Spencer said. "The improvements made to the liquid and the packaging bring Blackthorn more in line with contemporary tastes, stay true to its roots and celebrate its West Country heritage."

This month, the company is launching a £1.5m marketing campaign, named Black is Back, focusing on the south west of England to re-engage with its cider heartland roots.

The rsp will remain £3.82 for a four-pack and £3.19 for a two-litre bottle. Sales grew 5.2% to £15.9m in the year to October [Nielsen].