The crisp cider, which was launched by drinks company SHS in the take-home sector earlier this year, is based on a traditional Sussex recipe created by the brand’s founders in 1946.
Coming to the on-trade in the autumn, the 500ml bottle features a contemporary design and a new logo of a fox dancing a jig and playing an apple core-shaped fiddle.
Amanda Grabham, head of brand marketing for Merrydown, said: “The bottled cider category is worth £715.5million in annual sales in the on-trade – up by 12.5% over the past year – while volume sales have increased by 6%, so it’s a very buoyant sector of the market.
“A lot of the growth is coming from new product development – new brands and flavoured ciders – but the vast majority of these new lines are aimed at 18- to 25-year olds.
“However, as 60% of cider consumers are over 35. this is the audience we are aiming for with the new-look Merrydown.
“Heritage brands have strong appeal for these consumers, and the brand’s history will continue to play a major role in promoting the new line which aims to bring together the traditional craft and quality cues for which Merrydown is renowned, whilst putting greater emphasis on the sense of merriment with its contemporary design.”
Merrydown is produced from eating apples and has “Delightfully Delicious” inscribed underneath the brand name. Marketing support will highlight how the cider’s crisp, refreshing flavour complements a variety of food dishes.
Consumer PR, digital and in-outlet activity, sampling and outdoor advertising will support the launch, united by the strapline: “One Sip. Many a knowing grin explained.”
Amanda added: “Merrydown Cider’s history stretches back almost 70 years and that heritage, along with the product quality and crafted taste of the brand, has established a very loyal consumer following.
“The brand has a great story to tell – three friends produced the first batch of Merrydown in a garage from a 300-year-old oak cider press borrowed from a farmer and named the cider after the house of one of the founders.
“For consumers, the brand is perceived as having lots of character and personality. The name conjures up a feeling of sociability and light-heartedness, and recent consumer research showed that we could be doing more to reflect the character of the brand in the packaging and the brand support activity.
“We’ve taken that on board and have had very positive consumer reaction to the new pack design.”