Cidermaker Merrydown has almost doubled its annual profits to March boosted by a 23% rise in sales of its adult soft drink Shloer.

Full-year pre-tax profit to March 31 rose to £1.4m up from a restated £692,000 last year. Turnover increased 8% to £20.4m with Shloer sales up to £14m and accounting for 70% of the group's total turnover.

Merrydown said Shloer's success represented “a significant out-performance of the adult soft drinks market”, which it said grew by 12% in the year, according to the company.

Sales of its main one litre glass Vintage lines of Merrydown Cider brand were close to last year and the group said the second half of the year was particularly difficult in the cider market.

Chairman Andrew Nash was critical of the “pile it high sell it cheap activity over many years by the industry leaders” which has “predictably damaged the market”.