The new Westons corporate identity will roll out from the end of this month

The new Westons corporate identity will roll out from the end of this month

UK cider maker Westons is to grow its export arm as part of a plan to boost overall sales by 40% over the next five years.

The Herefordshire-based firm told just-drinks today it will invest in key existing markets including Australia, Canada and Germany as well as new consumers in the US, Ireland, Spain and Norway. The expansion is expected to increase international business to 10% of overall sales, up from 6% currently.

The international focus will combine with UK plans to continue growth for Westons, which has seen sales grow by 72% since 2010. The firm has invested in infrastructure, including six new cider presses at the company's Much Marcle headquarters that cost GBP1m (US$1.3m) each. Late last week, Westons unveiled a corporate brand overhaul for the company, designed to reflect its new positioning. The new identity, which includes a redesigned logo, will roll out at the end of this month across all consumer and trade touch points.

Speaking to just-drinks today, Westons commercial director Geoff Bradman said the new plans come despite the UK's decision to leave the EU.

"From a Westons perspective, we think we are reasonably well insulated [from Brexit]," Bradman said, adding that the company sources 90% of its fruit from within a 40-mile radius of the company's headquarters.

In the past few years, Westons has increasingly looked abroad for sales. Earlier this year, it launched its Caple Rd craft-style cider in Canada in 50cl cans while in Australia it took distribution in-house with the 2012 purchase of its long-running distributor, the Melbourne-based World Brands Australia (WBA).

New markets now tempt Westons, with Bradman saying that the US is a prime target for the company's premium brands despite recent volatility. The Westons sales head blamed pessimism over the US cider market, which has seen major player The Boston Beer Co struggle with its leading Angry Orchard brand, on the category's initial fast growth and said the current outlook is more stable.

"I think that there are growth opportunities," Bradman said. "The cider market grew so very quickly [in the US] that any little blip was seen as crash and burn. I don't think that is the case."

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