Somersby cider scores just £2.4m in year one

A £10m push for Somersby spoofed an Apple-style launch

Carlsberg has insisted it sees the British cider market as a “significant long-term opportunity” - despite its first UK cider launch clocking up less than £2.5m in first-year off-trade sales.

Somersby cider - launched as a rival to mainstream brands such as Strongbow last July and backed with a £10m marketing push in March - has achieved total sales of £2.4m in a UK cider market worth £929m [IRI 52 w/e 22 June 2013].

In stark contrast, AB InBev’s Stella Artois Cidre brought in £36m in its first year, while sales of Heineken’s pear-flavoured Strongbow brand extension totalled almost £17m in 12 months.

Describing the sales growth of Somersby as “steady, sustainable and in line with expectations”, Carlsberg said the brand hadn’t gone into full grocery distribution until January following a “soft launch” in Tesco last summer. Citing Nielsen data, Carlsberg said £1.6m of its sales had been generated in the past 13 weeks alone [52 w/e 22 June 2013].

Distribution was extended to the on-trade in March, when Carlsberg rolled out a £10m push led by a TV ad that spoofed an Apple-style product launch.

This would run until the end of August and after a break, the brand would be advertised again with a similarly styled approach, said Carlsberg.

“The brand continues to build listings and sales in both the off-trade and the on-trade,” said brands & insight director David Scott. “Just as importantly, it has been very well received by consumers. The UK cider market represents a significant long-term opportunity for Carlsberg UK, and the steady and sustainable sales growth of Somersby will continue.”

The Somersby brand was launched in 2008 in Europe, where the cider is produced locally to a different recipe and has been expanded with flavoured versions.