Westons Cider, makers of Stowford Press, has reported its ‘best year yet’, with sales up 6% to £58.6m.
The company says its continued growth was driven by strong growth of its premium draught brands, the successful launch of its mulled cider into the off-trade, and increased distribution across all trade channels, to the year end March 31, 2015.
It claims to now have a 5% share of the total UK cider market. Pre-tax profits jumped more than 30% to £2m during the financial year, despite Westons investing £1.7m into the site during the period, to include new tanks and other cider-making equipment. Its profit margin rose to 3.7%, compared with 2.9% in 2013-2014.
Stowford Press is now the number three draught cider in the on-trade, it says. Its other brands include Henry Westons Vintage, Wyld Wood and Old Rosie. It has pledged to invest £6m in its brands this year, alongside a further £4.5m in production facilities. The family-run company has been producing cider in the Herefordshire village of Much Marcle since 1880. It now exports to approximately 40 countries.
Geoff Bradman, head of sales at Westons Cider, said: 'While the cider market is currently flat, the traditional premium sector of the market in which we operate is in strong growth, currently growing by 7% year-on-year.
'All of our brands have been repackaged in the last 12-18 months, which has undoubtedly helped increase sales. The rise and rise of premiumisation in the cider market is set to continue, hence the launch of our Mortimer's Orchard, the most super-premium cider available, into the on-trade, and Caple Rd, the UK’s first craft cider in a can. We have a number of innovative premium product launches planned for 2016, which will help to add breadth to the premium end of the market.'