Cider may not traditionally have been seen as a stimulant, especially for those who knock it back in quantity. But all this could change with the launch of Britain's first "energy" cider this week.
Matthew Clark is bringing out Diamond Red, the stimulating offspring of Diamond White. The 5.4 per cent ABV cider (three per cent lower than Diamond White) has added taurine and caffeine.
Matthew Clark is looking to enhance the "party all night" image of Diamond White and harness this to the continued popularity of energy drinks.
Diamond Red is currently the only alcoholic energy drink to comply with the recent ruling by The Portman Group that such products could not be labelled or packaged in a way that suggested it would enhance mental or physical capabilities.
The words "energy" or "stimulating" do not appear on Diamond Red bottles. Other brands such as Red Square, VR and Raw Spirit Mix have until July 1 to comply with the ruling.
Keith McIlwain of Matthew Clark said: "Diamond White dominates the premium packaged cider sector."Diamond Red is the only alcoholic energy brand to combine the convenience of a premixed drink with a credible, established brand name — both important factors for the style-conscious consumer in this sector. We're confident Diamond Red will achieve early success."
Other new developments from Matthew Clark include:l The introduction of a new medium sweet cider brand, Red C, to directly challenge Bulmers' Woodpecker. The brand has been successfully trialled in the Tyne Tees region since last year and is already stocked in 1,400 outlets.
McIlwain said consumers had welcomed Red C as "more relevant, less sweet and more sessionable" than other similar ciders.
The relaunch of K cider as K6. Matthew Clark says it is responding to a demand from consumers who liked the image of K but found it too strong. The ABV will drop from 8.4 to six per cent.
A new look for cloudy, cask-conditioned cider Addlestones, which recently won the approval of CAMRA, which had previously been unhappy about its method of dispense.
McIlwain said the new developments followed a study of consumer behaviour which had identified a number of gaps in the cider market.