Despite the economic crisis, soaring food prices and relentless rain, the cider category continued to shine this summer, posting a 12.9% rise in volume and an 18.6% rise in value to £596m (Nielsen MAT to 6 September).

Star performers included Constellation-owned Gaymers, up 212% in volume and 234% in value, and Scottish & Newcastle-owned Bulmers, up 114% by volume but just 73% in value, suggesting promotions have been key for this brand . Magners had a tougher time of it however, dropping 19%.

Gaymers MD John Mills put the brand's success down to its tie up with ­music events and festivals, including Glastonbury .

"More than 650,000 people had the opportunity to see and try Gaymers this summer at festivals and in music venues, a fact that translated into strong sales in the off-trade," he told The Grocer. "Additional sales uplift was achieved through the launch of Gaymers Pear in April and a new PET format for outdoor venues."

Magners blamed its "disappointing" figures on the fact it wasn't involved in multi-buy deals in the supermarkets over the summer, claiming it didn't have the right pack formats.

"We have now listened to the retailers and solved that issue with the launch of 6x1-pint bottle and 12x440ml can multipacks in the past few weeks," said UK marketing manager Scott Fairbairn. "We hope from now on we will be in the promotional mix a bit more," he added.

The figures also showed sparkling wine and spirits had a good summer, while RTDs and stout continued to decline.