merrydown new look

SHS Drinks has overhauled its Merrydown cider brand, including a heritage-focused redesign and the introduction of a lower-calorie variant.

Merrydown’s original 7.5% Vintage Medium Cider has been poured into new 750ml wine-style bottles to position it as a lower-strength alternative to wine for midweek occasions.

A new red and white design includes a neck label meant to mimic wine brands, while wording and imagery on the front label denotes a traditional apple cider, and the reverse of the screwtop bottle flags up the brand’s 1946 origin story.

Rolling out now, the revamped tipple is joined on shelf by new Merrydown Crisp Apple with green and white graphics. It is a drier option at 5.5% abv and 39 calories per 100ml, making it around 30% lighter.

Brewed from a mix of eating and cooking apples, both variants have an rsp of £2.29 and will be supported by in-store activity.

Cider sales are down 0.8% (£8.4m) to £1,031.7m [Nielsen 52 w/e 8 October 2016]. However, SHS claimed heritage bottled cider volume sales had grown 13% to £67m last year [Nielsen 52 w/e 28 January 2017]. Merrydown’s bigger bottles appealed to a wider audience than smaller-format rivals such as Henry Weston and Thatchers, it claimed.

“Despite take-home glass bottled cider sales dipping by 5%-7% in value and volume over the past year, heritage ciders are continuing to perform well, with volume sales up by 13%,” said Amanda Grabham, SHS head of brand marketing for alcohol.