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Cider makers across the South West have launched a “cyber celebration” to mark South West Cider Week.

Beer and cider continue to be the “stand out performers” in the off-trade, with signs shoppers are now trading up to premium options, according to the latest data.

The World’s Biggest Cider Tasting will take place on May 2 via Instagram, with the aim of connecting cider fans and producers during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Thatchers Cider is extending into fruit cider for the first time with the introduction of Cloudy Lemon Cider.

Westons Cider predicts a “positive outlook” for the off-trade cider category, despite the current challenges posed by the coronavirus outbreak.

Westons Cider is expanding its Henry Westons range with three new variants to tap into interest in cloudy, rosé and organic ciders.

Strongbow is introducing Strongbow Rosé to tap into the ongoing trend for pink and rosé drinks.  

Westons Cider is to take on all sales and distribution responsibilities for Lowlander Botanical Beers in the UK.

Kopparberg is bringing out a cherry variant to add to its collection of fruit ciders.

Strongbow has unveiled its first “ultra-low” alcohol cider, with a 0.5% abv product aligned with its Dark Fruit variant.

Thatchers Cider has introduced its first alcohol-free cider, Zero.

Westons Cider is to turn waste left over from pressing apples into CO2 for its ciders.

The producer says the move will remove 10,000 road miles from its supply chain annually and guard against a repeat of the CO2 shortages from third party suppliers that hit the industry in the summer of 2018.

The move will see the Herefordshire-based firm turn 29,500 tonnes of pomace – ­the leftover solids from apples pressed for juice ­ – into fizz for brands including Stowford Press and Henry Westons.

Head of business development Darryl Hinksman said: “Thanks to our strong planning and sourcing credentials, we didn’t actually get caught out by last year’s shortage of food and drink grade CO2 ourselves.

“But with every chance of further shortages in future, we decided it was time to look for a more sustainable solution closer to home.

“By effectively generating our own CO2 from our leftover apple pomace, not only are we guaranteeing our own long-term supply, we are also meeting our own sustainability objectives.

“This will immediately remove 10,000 road miles a year from our supply chain, as we will no longer need to take deliveries of CO2 from further afield.”

The scheme has been devised with green energy specialist Biocarbonics and local farmer Nicholas Layton, who have built a CO2 capture facility 10 miles from Westons’ Much Marcle mill.

Scotland's Arran Brewery has started the first commercial cider production at its beer production site in Perthshire.
 
The cider will be made in 1000-litre batches, the first of which is currently fermenting.
 
Managing Director Gerald Michaluk said: “I am very happy to see the site starting to take shape, a lot later than I would have liked, but with our first cider started I am confident we can get this project on track and launch our first ciders in 2020.

The Portman Group has urged retailers not to stock a cider brand called Suicyder that was produced by The Bearded Brewery in Cornwall.

Brothers Cider has reported 17% year-on-year growth thanks to new product releases and increased distribution for its existing SKUs.

Westons has launched a medium dry cider called Henry Westons Signature Vintage in a bid to attract a wider consumer base into the category.

The founders of Craft Beer Rising are launching a new beer festival called BrewLDN in February 2020.

Frosty Jack’s Cider has revealed new branding to recruit new drinkers to the brand.

Ramborn Cider Company, a premium craft cider and perry producer from Luxembourg, is launching its range of drinks into the UK and other global markets.

Kopparberg is launching a rosé cider and it is confident the emerging category will “take the UK by storm in the later summer months and into the autumn”.

Cider producer Aston Manor has reported a sales increase of 5% in 2018 though profits failed to keep pace, increasing by just 1.4%.

Cider producer Aston Manor said profits were boosted in 2018 by the hot summer providing a lift to sales while cost controls helped it improve margins.

Heineken UK has pledged to add new calorie and nutrition labels across all of its cider packaging, while it is also reducing the sugar content of its cider brands by 30%.

The results of this year’s International Cider Challenge have been announced and the Supreme Champion for 2019 is Karlau’s Sxollie Pink Lady.

Orchard Pig is the latest producer to add a pink cider to its portfolio.

number of forces have conspired against the UK’s high-strength beer and cider category over the past few years.

Cider has a “clear opportunity” to introduce more shoppers into the category and there is room for both apple and fruit cider to grow in tandem, according to Thatchers Cider.

Minimum unit pricing has delivered a hammer blow to white cider in Scotland as sales have fallen off a cliff since it was introduced on May 1, 2018.

The off-trade cider category has enjoyed 5.3% value growth over the past year to reach £1.2 billion (IRI, year to February 2019).

Kopparberg has appointed former off-trade director Neil Robinson as its new sales director for both off and on-trade channels.