One of the big success stories in recent years to emerge from Ireland is Magners, which has proved that cider is more than something teenagers drink in the park.
The premium cider, which consumers are encouraged to drink over ice, has been a huge hit in Ireland and is starting to have a similar impact in the UK.
Magners initially took off in the on-trade but has now secured national listings in Asda, Sainsbury, Somerfield, Booker and Thresher.
The greatest compliment paid to
Magners in the past year is the scramble by other manufacturers to position their own brands to take advantage of the premium cider trend. Scottish Courage added Sirrus, a premium extension to its Strongbow brand, while Merrydown was repositioned as an over-ice drink.
Maurice Breen, Magners’ marketing director, says the brand has helped deliver a rebirth for the cider category. He expects the growth to continue as Magners gears up for its first national TV campaign in the spring.
Breen’s advice to companies looking to make a mark in the UK is clear: “You must have a truly differentiated product, keep it as simple as possible, and you must be able to deliver, so make sure of the research before you start.”
He is not averse to using Irish heritage to sell the brand as long as it doesn’t go overboard. “We are proud of where we come from and that our apples are all sourced locally. But it is important not to be gimmicky. We are certainly not wrapped up in the flag,” he says.