Stocks of Magners cider will continue to be limited but the critical period is over, says the company, following reports that a factory fire had hit availability.

Marketing director Maurice Breen said the results of a fire at its carbon dioxide producer's Billingham factory in June had disrupted production of the Irish cider. "It has not made life easy," he said. "It was a major fire and it has had a knock-on effect on our production since June."

Breen said that stock was still tight coming out of its Clonmell base in Ireland, but it was under control and the worst period had passed. "We will be continuing with both our off and on-trade supplies," he said. "The brand has significantly overperformed since we introduced it to England. We have had issues meeting demand, but it is a nice problem to have."

The company has increased capacity at the Clonmell production site to meet the demand.

The Magners brand helped the off-trade cider market grow 6.4% in value in the year to October 2005 [ACNielsen]. Breen said hot weather and the World Cup had boosted sales further. "We seem to have struck a chord with UK consumers."

Breen said the company was confident that Magners would continue to drive the UK cider market despite the growing competition in premium cider.

Magners was rolled out nationally at the start of this summer, but it was previously available in London, Scotland and Ireland.