Magners cider eyeing Europe expansion

By Chris Mercer

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Europe, United kingdom

C&C Group, the Irish owner of Magners cider, said it is looking
to expand the brand in mainland Europe after breakthrough success
in the UK last year.

C&C said it was carrying out market tests for Magners in Germany (Munich) and Spain (Barcelona), but that no decision was expected until October this year. The European trials show how C&C is attempting to maintain sales momentum after the strong growth of its Magners cider brand in the UK. Cider has made a blistering return to popularity in the UK over the last year, a movement largely led by Magners after its launch there in early summer 2006. At C&C revenues in cider were up 85 per cent for the full year ending 28 February, the group announced this week. It recorded a near identical rise in total group revenues, which reached €981m. Operating profit, meanwhile, rose 77 per cent to €212.6m. Sales volumes for Magners more than tripled in the UK thanks to aggressive marketing tactics - marketing spend rose 89 per cent during the year - and help from an exceptionally warm summer. C&C said growth had been restrained by an inability to meet market demand in the second half. But this month it is due to begin increasing capacity by 500m litres as part of a €160m expansion programme. The challenge for the firm in 2007 is how to follow their success of 2006. Cider had previously been shunned in the UK​, even to the point that the Strongbow brand removed all reference to its apple orchard origins on packaging and promotions. But cider, it seems, is officially cool again. Sales grew 12 per cent in the country last year, including rises for smaller premium brands such as Merrydown, Westons and Thatchers. Maurice Pratt, C&C chief executive, said: "We will continue to invest in the sustainable growth opportunities presented by Magners, Bulmers, and Tullamore Dew."

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