Strongbow remains cider champion despite sales drop

By Emily Hawkins contact

- Last updated on GMT

Category breakdown: what was the most popular cider in pubs last year?
Category breakdown: what was the most popular cider in pubs last year?

Related tags: Cider

Strongbow has retained its place as the top-selling cider in the on-trade, with its berry variant the second most popular.

The Morning Advertiser​’s (MA​) latest Drinks List revealed the drink had experienced slight dips in both sales volume and value compared to last year.

Strongbow held onto the top spot but saw a drop in volume sales this year. There was a decrease of 6.9% in volume sales compared to the same period outlined in the 2018 Drinks List. In the previous year, 569,547 hectolitres (HL) were sold compared to 611,981HL previously.  

The drink also saw its value down compared to the previous year, with figures recorded at £330.2m compared to the £347.2m last year. This year, Strongbow announced it would get rid of artificial sweeteners, flavours and colours in its drinks​, in addition to including nutritional information on packaging. 

Strongbow Dark Fruit also held onto its position at second from last year. It saw a fall in volume sales of 5.1% in addition to a marginal decrease in value of 1.8%.

Thatcher’s Gold enjoyed an increase in volume sales of 2.8%. There was also an increase in value sales with £191.7m of the drink sold compared to £180.1m in the previous year. 

Thatchers cider managing director Martin Thatcher predicted a slower growth for the fruit cider sector while the apple cider category would see continued growth, in an interview with MA​ earlier this year.

Success stories

Another cider to enjoy success in this year’s list was Stowford Press. This cider has climbed one place from last year despite a 7.7% drop in volume sales with 114,239HL sold compared to 123,740HL the year before.

Carling’s dark fruit offering rocketed into the list, with volume sales up 138.3%. It also saw a 154.9% uplift in value sales, with £49.1m sold in pubs this year.

There was also a strong performance from Magners original, with a 5.4% increase in volume sales and an even higher 6.9% boost in value sales.

CGA senior client manager Paul Bolton told audience members at MA​’s Drink Tank that categories like gin were threatening to take consumers from the cider sector. 

He proposed innovative recipes and hybrid drinks were solutions to decreasing momentum in the category, which saw a moving annual total (MAT) decline for the first time in over four years. 

Bolton said: “Draught fruit cider is still a trend but were now looking at what’s coming next and what’s going to drive the category forward.”

According to MA’s latest Drinks List, the best-selling ciders in the on-trade in 2019 were:

Volume (HL)

% +/-

Value (£m)

% +/-

Strongbow

569,547

-6.9

330.2

-4.9

Strongbow Dark Fruit

498,224

-5.1

306.3

-1.8

Thatchers Gold

305,996

2.8%

191.7

6.4

Stowford Press

114,239

-7.7

253.6

-5.4

Kopparberg Strawberry & Lime

107,230

-13.5

255.3

-9.6

Kopparberg Mixed Fruits

102,770

-14.8

81.4

-13.6

Rekorderlig Strawberry & Lime

82,967

-2.7

71.2

-0.4

Carling Black Fruit Cider

82,631

138.3

49.1

154.9

Magners Original

81,447

5.4

46.7

6.9

Somersby Cider

70,414

-8

44.5

-5.5

Related topics: Cider

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