Company: Halewood International
Rsp: £1.99/330ml
Competition: Ginger Joe, Hollows
The sell: The oak-matured tipple would plug a gap for more “distinct-tasting products”

The consumer

I won’t be buying this when it hits the shops. The bottle design makes it look more like a real ale and I can’t imagine it jumping out at me from the shelves. At £1.99 it seems like a rather lame attempt at getting drinkers to pay more for their ginger beer. This version is 6% abv and Crabbie’s says it has been oak-matured, but it’s still far too sweet and sickly for me. Two stars (out of five)
Sam Stone, insurance claims investigator, Surrey 

The expert
Crabbie’s Black is described as offering a more mature and premium taste than its parent product. Initially there is a pleasant, notable kick of ginger, a quality that in my opinion is not prevalent in Crabbie’s Original 500ml. Unfortunately, this is soon masked by an overpowering sweetness, which makes the higher abv of 6% almost unnoticeable. This conspires to make the 330ml serving seem almost too much. At £1.99 the price point is ambitious. Pleasant enough as a slow, well-chilled beverage. Three stars
Adam Walker, category buyer, Nisa-Today’s

The Grocer
I loved the idea behind Crabbie’s Black - I imagined a treacly liquor the colour of a rich, dark gingerbread. In the end, it didn’t quite live up to its name in terms of appearance. However, on taste it was a winner. It has a more complex flavour than its younger sibling - less sweet and with a lovely lingering warmth. I thought £1.99 at 6% abv was a fair price. Four stars
Richard Ford, deputy fresh foods editor