Merrydown is moving its new premium packaged cider Classic into the cut-throat pricing arena of PET cider. The major players in the sector, Bulmers and Matthew Clark, have been fighting it out in the PET arena with price and extra free deals. Both have been trading their three litre PETs of their key brands for the price of two litres with a 50% extra free deal. Merrydown has introduced Classic in a one litre PET and plans to bring out a 1.5 litre version in order to offer a 50% extra free deal. The company is targeting consumers who consistently buy their cider in PETs. Marketing controller Mike Coppard said: "60% of cider sales in multiples are in one litre bottles and 55% are in PET." He was candid about the performance of Classic in its first year. "We did not get distribution at a sufficient level with just the 330ml bottle. "The market has moved on and we need to get our liquid into a format where it will get on shelf and secure distribution. "We are intending to introduce a strong programme of trade promotional support. Classic will be priced competitively but the emphasis will remain on quality without compromise." He is also continuing the brand's links with the Ann Summers lingerie company. Last year it was used as a route to offer samples to 32,000 young women. A new strapline "taste the passion" has also been introduced for the brand. Merrydown clawed its way back from the brink of disaster two years ago with a two brand strategy based on Merrydown and the soft drink Shloer. Classic was launched last April and was designed to attract people back to the category. At the time sales and marketing director Kevin Bolt said: "The cider market is in limbo and people are drifting away from it." {{DRINKS }}