Diageo’s Katie Hunter, Innovation Commercialisation Manager


The Launch of Smirnoff Cider and How Independent Retailers Can Make the Most of the Cider Category.

Smirnoff Cider is a relatively young brand. How are sales going so far?

We’ve seen very positive sales results since the launch in June last year. Over the key summer weeks throughout May to August, we were thrilled to see the average ROS was 18 bottles per store per week. In addition, the brand is positively impacting the total category, Smirnoff Cider is contributing 20% to the total growth in Flavoured Cider, a category currently growing at 35.4% per year.

What was the inspiration behind the brand?

We brought this product to market following consumer research into the category, which showed that whilst apple and pear ciders are in decline, the younger and more vibrant areas of the category such as fruit cider are in growth. We also knew that many consumers find existing fruit ciders too sweet and fizzy, so we were confident consumers would love Smirnoff Cider, as it is a less sweet and lightly carbonated option.

Any NPD to be expected in 2017?

Yes. We continue to see innovation as a key growth driver in Cider, so this summer we are developing our offering to include a new ‘Mandarin and Pink Grapefruit’ variant. We will also be launching our existing variants into a new 330ml can multipack.

What targets do you have over the next year?

With our new flavour and format, we’re hoping to build on the phenomenal success of last year, particularly during the summer months, which are a key sales period for fruit cider.

Which demographic is most likely to drink Smirnoff Cider?

The Cider category has broad appeal, but we think Smirnoff Cider particularly appeals to most men and women aged 18 to 24. Shoppers who buy into this category are generally younger and more open to trying new products.

How can independent retailers make the most of the brand?

As a category in growth, there are always new fruit ciders and craft beers launching throughout the year, so retailers should regularly review their range to include innovations. We would also recommend keeping Smirnoff Cider products chilled to tap into the impulse opportunity. In addition, the new 10 x 330ml multipacks offer a great chance to trade shoppers up to a higher basket spend, so these should be positioned in a prominent display location to help drive sales.


What stocking and merchandising advice do you have for retailers?

As with all new innovation, retailers should make the product visible in store. We would recommend blocking all ciders together, with the new Smirnoff Cider sited prominently at eye level. Clear pricing and playing on the seasonality of cider in the run up to the summer will also help maximise sales.

What other interesting trends are you seeing in the Cider sector?

Accessibility is definitely a growing trend in the Cider sector, which is why we have taken the step to launch our existing flavours in the new 330ml can format – opening up the category to a variety of new occasions such as festivals and out of home.

We will also continue to see innovation as a key growth driver in ciders, as consumers look for more interesting and exciting flavours to try.