The Tasting Panel magazine

March 2014

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78 / the tasting panel / march 2014 ALTERNATIVE BEVERAGES T alk about hitting the target: U.K. stalwart Strongbow is the number-one imported cider in the world. The iconic Brit brand with the drawn-bow logo boasts 127 years of cider-making experience, giving it an arrow-sharp edge over upstart labels. While most hard ciders in the U.S. compete in the crowded "savor space" of the category, cheek-by-jowl with craft beers, Strongbow aims well above this crowded playing field. It's one of the few "badge" ciders on the market—an upscale brand that resonates with consum- ers, and one that people want to be seen drinking. Now, Strongbow has taken aim at the target once again by launching two new cider expressions: Strongbow Gold Apple and Strongbow Honey & Apple, both rolling out nationwide this month from HEINEKEN USA. Consumer Preference Strongbow Gold Apple "hits the apple flavor bull's-eye," says Charles van Es, HEINEKEN USA Senior Director, Portfolio Brands. "It captures the balance of the sweet and tart notes of the popular Golden Delicious apple, pulled together with a crisp, refreshing taste." Sibling release Strongbow Honey & Apple combines hints of silky honey over a backdrop of seamless apple flavors. Both are alluringly wrapped in sleek, modern packaging that stands out on the shelf by "communicat- ing premiumness" and exuding "upscale badge" appeal. "With the new Strongbow Gold Apple and Strongbow Honey & Apple hard ciders hitting shelves this month, we've seen growing excitement from consumers and retailers alike," continues van Es. "Our consumer research indicates that both men and women prefer the new crisp, refreshing flavor profile of Strongbow Gold Apple over original Strongbow Hard Cider and, better yet, over other competing brands." 1 The growing popularity of cider among younger LDA drinkers assures the success of the new Strongbow expressions. "Consumers of age are finding Strongbow to be the perfect beverage to start their 'first drinks' occasion, providing a refreshing change of pace as they kick-off their afternoon plans with friends," says van Es. Retail Support HEINEKEN USA worked closely with wholesalers and retailers in the months leading up to the launch to develop a robust entry-to- market strategy. Van Es reports that HEINEKEN USA is concentrating its resources in building a strong distribution base for Strongbow Taking Aim NEW STRONGBOW GOLD APPLE AND STRONGBOW HONEY & APPLE TARGET THE GROWING CIDER MARKET by David Gadd

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