Irish drinks firm C&C Group has expressed its confidence about the future growth of Magners cider despite industry data suggesting sales were slightly down in August and September.

Reports in the UK cited figures from market research group AC Nielsen that claimed Magners share of the cider market fell slightly from a high in July, when sales were boosted by hot weather.

However, a spokesman for C&C said the company has faith in the Magners brand. "We had an extremely good performance with Magners in the first half and the brand remains very much on-track," the spokesman told just-drinks today (13 November). Last month, C&C said Magners sales had soared 264% in the six months to 31 August.

The popularity of Magners - sold in a pint bottle and poured over ice - has led other cider producers to invest behind their products.

The UK's largest brewer, Scottish & Newcastle, has spent heavily on advertising campaigns for its Bulmers Original brand, which is also sold over ice.

The C&C spokesman said the company welcomed investment in the cider category. "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery," he said of the S&N campaign for Bulmers Original.

He added: "Our invest in the Magners brand in the UK has been possibly the most significant factor in rejuvenating cider as a category."