The biggest launch of the year?

Sure, it’s only the first week of February, but it’s hard to think of a brand extension that could plausibly have quite the impact of Stella Cidre.

It’s not clear how many millions were spent on market research before AB InBev swapped round the last two letters of ‘cider’. No matter. The Stella prefix makes it a winner.

As The Grocer’s resident Stella drinker, who dabbles with cider for a change of pace, it’s probably fair to say I’m bang in the middle of the target market. And even if it wasn’t my solemn duty as a member of this publication to sample NPD (in responsible quantities), I’d be trying Stella Cidre the first time I saw it.

Of course, good branding alone can’t sell a dog of a product even with the sort of marketing onslaught we can expect from the world’s largest brewer. But the early feedback is that Stella Cidre more than lives up to its premium billing.

AB InBev says rivals should be happy, as this launch will keep the cider category on the up. But one suspects C&C won’t feel like celebrating.

As brand extensions go, to borrow a phrase, this is a thing of beauty.

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Stella launches cider brand extension (2 February 2011)