Merrydown has become the third major player to get in on the growing ‘cider on the rocks’ phenomenon.
Following closely in the footsteps of the Irish brand Magners and Scottish Courage’s Strongbow Sirrus, Merrydown, owned by the SHS Group, is launching a campaign to encourage consumers to drink the cider over ice.
It is launching a premium variant with an alcoholic strength of 5%, which is lower than the Merrydown 7.5% abv Vintage cider.
The company says the new variant is more suited to be drunk over ice, and will commence with an on-trade roll-out - starting in Glasgow this month - before moving into the multiples with 500ml bottles or packs of 275ml bottles. MD Chris Carr said: “The brief to our master cider maker was to ‘make the most delicious premium 5% abv cider possible’ - with complete disregard to cost! Primarily we want to recruit the next generation of Merrydown drinkers.”
The launch of Merrydown Premium Cider will be supported by the first advertising for the brand in nearly 20 years in the form of a cinema advert and magnetic fly posters, as part of a £150,000 investment spend this year.
“We are going to make Merrydown famous again,” said Carr. “Our sales are up 40% in the off-trade this year.”
Carr said Merrydown had the potential to become mainstream with the backing of its parent SHS, which acquired it this year and also owns the WKD brand.