Few expected Carlsberg’s cider debut to be another Stella Cidre - which clocked up £36m in its first year - but most readers will be shocked to learn that off-trade sales of the brewer’s Somersby Cider have been less than £2.5m to date.
It raises the question: why didn’t Carlsberg follow Stella’s lead, as Carling did this year, and launch a Carlsberg Cider?
“If Somersby did turn out to be a rotten apple, Carlsberg could go the Stella route”
Vince Bamford, fmcg editor
I don’t know the answer - and if Carlsberg would like to tell me I’d love to hear it - but admire the brewer for going against the trend for brand extensions and attempting to build something new (well, new-ish - a different version of Somersby is sold outside the UK). And, with over 150 years of drinks industry experience behind it, I reckon Carlsberg could achieve its aim.
It would have expected a slow start - though possibly not this slow - and the brand is picking up momentum, backed by inspired advertising that brilliantly spoofs Apple-style tech launches.
And, at the end of the day, if Somersby did turn out to be a rotten apple, Carlsberg could take the Stella route. ‘Probably the best cider in the world’ has a nice ring to it, after all.