Merrydown, the cidermaker and producer Shloer said sales of the soft drink had risen 17% to help narrow first half losses.

To September 30, the company posted a pre-tax loss of £329,000 compared with £425,000 last year. Turnover rose 3% to £8.29m of which Shloer accounts for 57% of sales.

Chief executive Nigel Freer said: “The recently launched Shloer Real Fruit Blend dilutable provides an opportunity for incremental growth and, having already been listed by three major multiples, will progressively contribute to revenue in the second half and thereafter."

He added that the outlook for the remainder of the year is expected to follow a seasonal pattern, with a high proportion of Shloer sales being concentrated in the Christmas period.