Sales of fruit-flavoured cider in the UK have more than doubled in the last two years, ahead of the overall category, with growth expected to continue, according to market researchers.

Non-apple and pear cider sales rose from GBP82m (US$135.7m) two years ago to GBP217m ($359m)in 2013, analysts CGA and IRI said in a media presentation, hosted by Westons, in London today (26 March).  The Koppaberg and Rekorderlig brands have led this success, the analysts noted, while Heineken has seen strong sales from its Strongbow Dark Fruit brand.

IRI analyst Steve Jones also raised the prospect of other big brewers entering the sub-category. “We expect to see more fruit flavours emerge,” said Jones. He noted that Anheuser-Busch InBev’s Stella Cidre sales were flat in the UK last year. Jones added: “Perhaps they (A-B InBev) might be looking to launch into fruit-flavoured ciders as a way of boosting the brand this year.”

Earlier today, Molson Coors announced it is launching a cherry variant of its Carling Cider brand

On the wider market, IRI predicted that cider will continue to outperform the rest of the UK alcoholic drinks market, with on-trade volumes expected to grow an extra 5% by 2018.

Apple cider sales still account for the majority (66%) of UK category sales, but are losing share to fruit (20%) and pear (14%), the analysts noted.