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Thatchers cider aims to conquer US taste buds

Thatchers cider will be available to consumers in the US for the first time, following the signing of an exclusive distribution agreement with Scotland-based craft brewer Innis & Gunn.

Under the three-year agreement, Innis & Gunn will assume all administrative, marketing and promotional support for the Thatchers flagship brand through its US subsidiary, Innis & Gunn USA, Inc. (IGUSA).

The first of the Thatchers premium product range to make the trip across the Atlantic is the flagship 4.8% abv Thatchers Gold, launched in the US in September 2014.

While the company has developed new 330ml packaging for the US market, the labels retain the existing brand identity of Thatchers Gold, highlighting Thatchers’ Somerset heritage, with some subtle changes to meet the demands of the US market, such as highlighting the fact this is English cider; that Thatchers Gold is gluten free; and nutritional facts to comply with American regulations.


Advantage in heritage

Dougal Sharp, founder and CEO of Innis & Gunn, says: “Thatchers Gold will be new to the US, where the cider category is showing explosive growth. A new generation of American consumers is looking for ciders with heritage, quality and character, so this is a very exciting step and we are proud to be part of it.”

According to the brewer, the entire cider/perry category in the US is equal to less than 1% of overall beer volume sales, but “growing fast”.

Over the last three years, sales of hard (alcoholic) cider have tripled in the US, with volume and value sales increasing by 64% and 69% respectively (Euromoniter International) in 2013 alone.

Martin Thatcher, managing director and fourth generation cidermaker, says: “The reputation of crafted English cider is rapidly spreading in the US. Thatchers Gold has gained a well-earned reputation in the UK for its quality and great taste, together with the values of heritage and provenance that it represents.

“With this continued growth in understanding and awareness of hard cider, the time is now right for Thatchers Gold to enter this exciting US market and engage with those consumers seeking out new and interesting brands.”

IGUSA was established in New York in 2010, and now represents the Innis & Gunn beer portfolio – famed for its oak-aged styles – in more than 20 US states.

Initially available to the US on- and off-premise in 330ml x4 pack at $8.99 and 500ml bottles at $3.99, with kegged cider to follow in early 2015, Thatchers Gold is produced at Thatchers’ Myrtle Farm in Somerset, South West England, where the Thatcher family has been tending its orchards since 1904.

The number two best-selling draught cider in the UK, Thatchers Gold is now on sale in more than 20 countries worldwide.

16 September 2014 - David Longfield