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Somerset cider ranges refreshed and expanded

C&C Group's Shepton Mallet Cider Mill has refreshed the branding for its Ye Olde English and Blackthorn ciders and launched two new variants for the off trade: Ye Olde English 1770, to meet a growing demand for premium English ciders with provenance; and Black ‘n Black – a dark fruits cider.

The refreshed branding and packaging for Ye Olde English cider (4.5%abv) continues to evoke the essence of ‘timeless Englishness’ that Ye Olde English is recognised for, while giving the product a more premium look and added standout on shelf, the company says. 

The new look, designed by London agency Jones Knowles Ritchie (JKR), coincides with the launch of Ye Olde English 1770 (6%abv) into the off trade. The name pays homage to the master cider makers that allegedly first produced cider in 1770. Confirmed stockists include Bargain Booze and Iceland, with the product available on shelf imminently.

David Caffrey, marketing manager for Ye Olde English, comments: “We see this as a rebirth of an English icon. With an increased interest in the traditional values of cider, we wanted to remind consumers of the heritage and craft behind Ye Olde English and the new branding reflects this. Ye Olde English has strong brand loyalty amongst our customers and we’re confident that the launch of the new 1770 premium offering will not only appeal to the traditional values of existing buyers, but will encourage new consumers who are looking for genuine English heritage and provenance. 

“Ye Olde English is a traditional medium dry cider using a unique blend of English dessert and cider apples to deliver its well-loved, deliciously refreshing taste. Originally developed in 1939 for the American market, it was never shipped out due to the outbreak of the Second World War. Instead it was launched in the UK and quickly grew to be one of the country’s best-loved ciders.”

Blackthorn’s new identity, also created by JKR, was developed to highlight its West Country roots, the Somerset dragon and the words ‘Somerset Pressed’ will now feature prominently across the top of each can as well the historic Shepton Mallet Market Cross monument across all Blackthorn variants.  

Andy Cross, marketing manager for Blackthorn, comments: “As one of the country’s best loved ciders we have re-designed the packaging to reflect the quality and craftsmanship that goes into Blackthorn as well as celebrating our proud Somerset roots. We have also introduced a pressed script style on the packaging to represent the way we press our cider, while both a reverse face and a front face bring the rich story behind the brand to life.” 

To support the brand re-fresh and communicate its provenance and heritage, The Shepton Mallet Cider Mill will be launching an outdoor media and PR campaign in its Bristol heartland followed by national point of sale customer support over the coming months.

Meanwhile, to coincide with the new look and responding to consumer demand for flavoured cider, the brand has launched a new canned fruit variant for the off trade called Black ‘n Black (4.7%abv). 

Fruit cider is the fastest growing cider category in the off trade, up 65 per cent in volume over the last year (Neilson Scantrack 24.05.2014 - Total GB). In response to this growing trend, the new variant blends the flavours of dark fruits, rich blackberries and blackcurrants with Blackthorn’s distinctive apple cider. 

“Fruit cider has prompted an influx of younger drinkers into the cider category” adds Cross, “we knew that by adding a secret blend of fruits from the hedgerow to our distinctive Somerset cider we would create an ideal product for introducing the brand to a new audience of cider drinkers. We have been overwhelmed by the positive interest in Black ‘n Black and are very optimistic about what it will deliver for the Blackthorn portfolio”

Ye Olde English is available for the on trade in 50ltr kegs and a wide range of pack formats for the off trade. 

Ye Olde English 1770 is available to off trade customers in 440ml and 500ml Crown cans.

Blackthorn is available on draught, Crown cans and PET.

Dry Blackthorn is available on draught and in Crown cans.

Black ‘n Black is currently only available in Crown cans.

23 June 2014 - Felicity Murray The Drinks Report, editor