Blog: Olly WehringCider - first the best, second the worst?

Olly Wehring | 19 September 2006

It seems there is no quenching the thirst for Magners cider. UK demand for the brand has forced its owners, C&C Group, to double capacity at its plant in Clonmel, the second time in a year that the company has expanded the site.

C&C is spending a significant amount of money, around EUR200m (US$253m), and the investment is a sign the company believes the cider boom will continue. The company saw Magners’ volumes soar 250% during the first half of the year and the performance of its sister brand, Bulmers, in Ireland suggests demand for cider is more than just a fad.

Scottish & Newcastle commands a dominant share of the UK cider market and no doubt hoped its marketing and distribution muscle would drive sales of Strongbow Sirrus and Bulmers Original, two products it launched after the first signs of Magners success in the UK.

However, C&C’s continued success with Magners demonstrates the benefit of being the “first mover” in what has become a lucrative category. Consumers see Magners as the premium packaged cider and the danger for S&N is that its offerings could be seen as a pale imitation of the Irish brand. After years in the doldrums, there seem interesting times ahead in the cider category.


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