Looking after a baby that is a blockbuster

Divisional managing director of Shloer, Mike Coppard started out in the food and drink industry when he joined the Unilever sales team in his early 20s. He moved around the company in various sales and marketing roles until 10 years ago when he expressed an interest in category management.

Coppard was originally given two people and an outpost office to develop the new system, but five years later he ended up with a team of 15.

He then moved to Merrydown, Shloer’s parent company, as a category controller.
After 12 months, he was made sales and marketing director and then began his current job as divisional manager, heading the Shloer business, in 2001.

In 1999 Merrydown’s cider accounted for 70% of the business, with Shloer at 30%. Today, the tables have turned and Shloer brings in 70% of sales.

Coppard said: “As a brand, Shloer has quadrupled in size over five years to over £18m. Sales have come from the fact that we have a very good product, but we’re also a small team of seven and feel like Shloer is our baby – it’s like having our own business.”

Coppard enjoys working in the close working environment because he can get involved in everything, from the “boring” financial side to developing new products and coming up with new advertising campaigns.

He has spent the last three years strengthening the core brand and is now excited about extending into new areas.
Along with the seasonal variants of the litre bottle, Coppard launched Shloer in new 275ml glass bottles, Posh Squash and herbal drink Sorelle this year.

“I’ve been in the business a long time now and it’s really nice to be getting the chance to get into new areas. It’s definitely a challenge, but everyone should look for that in whatever they do.”