Blog: Chris Brook-CarterOne bad apple

Chris Brook-Carter | 25 November 2003

Walk into a UK pub or bar and contemplate the array of drinks on offer, and one that many people would not consider is cider. Unless, of course, you walk into a pub in the west country. A recent trip to Somerset confirms that, in this small pocket of the United Kingdom at least, cider is alive and well. But times have been tough for the drink.

Since around 1995, cider volumes have been down and value has been eroded. As the popularity of cider has taken a beating, so has its relevance to retailers. The emphasis has been more on “buy one, get one free” or “50% extra free” than trying to “sex up” the image of cider to a new generation of drinkers. Peter Spencer, managing director of Matthew Clark, makers of Blackthorn and Gaymer’s Olde English, is well aware of the situation. “Most people tend to associate cider with either their first teenage hangover, or men with pipes and beards.”

The fiasco at Bulmers, and the subsequent acquisition of the company by Scottish & Newcastle, has redirected the focus in the industry away from this main issue. These have been interesting – and difficult – times for those in the business of making cider. But Matthew Clark has recently made a strong statement of intent for the future. The company remains committed to the cider business, and believes that it is a strategic imperative for both Matthew Clark and its owner Constellation.

What the industry needs is a market leader to take control of the perceptions surrounding cider drinking. Be it Bulmers or Matthew Clark, the sooner these issues in the British drinkers’ heads are challenged, the sooner the choppy waters of the past eight years can be greeted by a calming, golden sunrise.


BLOG

Measuring up fake wine

Collecting wine is big business – and so is faking it. So, how do you tell your Chateau Lafite from your Chateau La Counterfeit?...

BLOG

Are you going to London Wine Week?

Here in London, the second Wine Week has kicked off to coincide with UK wine trade event London Wine Fair. ...

BLOG

All aboard the Aperol bus

Commuting in London is a drag. It’s overcrowded, sweaty and rarely goes to plan. In fact, it’s enough to turn a person to drink....

BLOG

Diageo's echo quotes

When it comes to market speculation, a company holds the prerogative to comment or not. Most times it is the latter, but we journalists are always grateful for any quote that we can get....

just-drinks homepage



Forgot your password?