Westons says the Australian market is growing

Westons says the Australian market is growing

UK cider maker Westons hopes its first international acquisition will treble its sales in the growing Australian market and pave the way for further expansion.

The company announced yesterday (15 October) that it has purchased World Brands Australia (WBA), a long-running distributor for Westons, based in Melbourne. No financial details of the deal were disclosed.

WBA will change its name to Westons World Brands and be headed up by Westons' commercial director, Roger Jackson. 

In an interview with just-drinks last week, Westons' marketing head Ian Lewis said the new acquisition could see the company's sales in Australia reach GBP3m (US$4.8m), with the country serving as a launch pad for Westons' international ambitions. 

“The taste profile is slightly different in Australia as they prefer slighter sweeter products, but because it's an established cider market the educational process is less there,” Lewis said.

“There are a lot of expats, a lot of people who understand what cider is about. Combine that with the hot climate and a refreshing product, and you have something that ticks a number of boxes.”

Cider has increased its market share in Australia by 0.8% in the 12 months up to February, according to Nielsen figures cited by Westons, and is a major international market for Heineken's Strongbow and C&C Group's Magners.

Westons is also focusing on Finland and Germany, Lewis said, where the company has recently switched distributors from Diageo to Radeberger.

“That's a big growth plan, to make Germany work for us as well,” he said.

A study last week found that cider shoppers are more likely to shun market-leading brands than other consumers.