Molson Coors has defended the British positioning of its new Carling British Cider - despite it containing as little as 10% UK-sourced apples.

Although the brewer has never suggested the 4.5% abv cider, which is made in Britain, would contain only UK-sourced fruit, industry insiders have said the low quantity was surprising given the brand’s positioning.

Molson Coors this week told The Grocer it was using all the British apples it could source. It refused to say exactly what proportion of its apples were British, but did not deny it could be as low as 10%.

“In an ideal world, we’d like to get this significantly higher but it comes down to the crop and what we can sustainably access,” said Carling brand director Jeremy Gibson. “For Carling to launch a product, clearly a British angle is fundamental. To make it here by a British cidermaker and to a British style makes me comfortable we have a British cider.”

But some industry sources criticised the British positioning. “At best it’s disingenuous,” said one senior cider industry figure.

Branding expert Claire Nuttall, founding partner of Thrive, added: “At a time when many businesses are striving for greater authenticity and transparency, it’s disappointing to see a big brand potentially undermine the integrity of other brands’ efforts.”

Freelance creative consultant Simon Robinson described the positioning as ‘risky’. “It allows one to infer it’s made of British ingredients,” he said. “Brands have to be very careful to maintain consumer trust.”