C&C Group is looking to differentiate its Woodchuck cider brand from major new launches in the US market by upping its focus on craft consumers.

Earlier today (20 May), the company reported that full-year volumes for Woodchuck fell 1%, while depletions slipped by 6%. C&C, which acquired Woodchuck producer Vermont Hard Cider Co in March last year, pointed to the integration process and increasing competition in the market for the poor performance.

Speaking on a post-results conference call, Joris Brams, C&C International MD, said the company has decided against traditional forms of advertising for the brand. Asked by just-drinks whether launches by Anheuser-Busch InBev and MillerCoors would be positive for the fast-growing US cider category, Brams said these companies would attract consumers with “a lot of noise and publicity” through TV adverts. “We have chosen not to go down that route,” said Brams. “We’ve chosen to invest US$34m into a new cidery.” 

He added: “The way we communicate will be totally different from the tools our competitors use - like social media, and we have the grand opening of our new cidery in August. We are really targeting the craft consumers.” The company is also planning packaging refreshes for the brand.

"I think ultimately there is a space for (this type of) cider ... authentic products focussed on quality, innovation."