HEINEKEN Everyday Cider Strategy Bears Strongbow Dark Fruit

18th May 2013

HEINEKEN, the UK’s leading cider and beer business, is adding another string to Strongbow, its iconic cider brand, with the launch of a new flavoured variant, Strongbow Dark Fruit. The launch follows the successful introduction of Strongbow Pear, which led HEINEKEN’s transformation of the Everyday Cider category in 2012 when the product was voted the No.1 selling Long Alcoholic Drink (LAD) of the year.

Strongbow Dark Fruit has been created to recruit shoppers to the Everyday Cider category by tapping into the burgeoning consumer interest in flavoured cider. Harnessing the crisp, masculine refreshment of Strongbow Original, Strongbow Dark Fruit offers an easy-drinking combination of Strongbow cider, cut with blackcurrant and blackberry juices. Available exclusively through off-trade distribution channels from mid-June, Strongbow Dark Fruit will be supported by heavyweight marketing activity including out-of-home advertising, press, in-store sampling and intriguing point of sale materials.

Martin Porter, Off Trade Sales Director at HEINEKEN said: “While the majority of cider growth is currently generated by Modern Flavoured Ciders, Everyday Cider remains the largest segment of the total category, selling 15% more volume than Modern Ciders[1] combined. However, whilst 34% of Everyday Cider shoppers say they buy into Modern Original Cider, only 14% buy into Modern Flavoured variants, showing that current options are missing the mark for everyday flavour refreshment[2].

“Successfully tapping into the demand for mainstream flavour experiences, Strongbow Dark Fruit is set to draw everyday drinkers into the Flavoured Cider segment, which HEINEKEN believes could represent a £20m growth opportunity for Everyday Cider in the off-trade[3].”

Refreshment with a dark edge

Unlike other Flavoured Cider variants, Strongbow Dark Fruit combines the crisp taste of Strongbow Original with blackcurrant and blackberry, making it relatively low in sweetness and ideal for easy-drinking, everyday refreshment. The 4.0% ABV cider is available in striking new dark charcoal and purple packaging, featuring the iconic Strongbow logo, and offered in a variety of formats designed to meet different shopper needs. Created for relaxed, everyday occasions, 440ml and 500ml cans will be available from mid-June, whilst 500ml bottles, designed to tap into social occasions, will be rolled out from mid-August.

Helping to drive stand-out in store, retailers will be offered a range of eye-catching new POS, including posters, shelf-fins and wobblers.

As the UK’s No.1 Cider, Strongbow is 35% larger than the top four Modern Cider brands put together[4] and enjoys 80% value share of the Everyday Cider segment[5]. Continuing to build brand equity, the latest innovation from HEINEKEN joins Strongbow Original and Strongbow Pear, launched in July 2012, is already the No 1 Pear Cider in the off –trade. To date, 44% of Strongbow Pear sales have been new to the category with the brand now at 3% penetration of Total Cider[6].

Driving category growth

Martin Porter added: “By virtue of the fact that Strongbow shoppers buy more frequently and in higher volumes than average Modern Cider shoppers, the brand is uniquely positioned to expand the Flavoured Cider sub-category.Strongbow Pear has successfully tapped into the demand for refreshing, less sweet flavours, bringing new shoppers into the category and delivering incremental sales for retailers. However our research has shown that there is still an opportunity to trade up Everyday shoppers who don’t currently buy into Flavoured Cider and that these consumers are looking for new drinking options. We are confident that Strongbow Dark Fruit is the right product to do this, appealing to those looking for a refreshing, everyday liquid and recruiting new shoppers to the segment.

“In addition to supporting the launch with new marketing activity, we continue to drive awareness and relevance of the Strongbow brand with heavyweight TV advertising and high profile sponsorships. We strongly recommend retailers to stock up with Strongbow Dark Fruit and take advantage of this opportunity to increase cider sales.”

1IRI OFF Trade MAT volume share to w/e 27/10/12

2 Dunnhumby MAT to 05/08/12

3Dunnhumby MAT to 05/08/12

[4] IRI OFF Trade MAT vol to 01/9/12 and CGA ON Trade MAT vol to 01/08/12 (Magners, Bulmers, Stella Artois Cidre & Kopparberg)

[5] IRI Total Off Trade Value sales 52 w/e 24th Nov 2012

[6] Kantar for LAD’s, 52 weeks to 23/12/12