Magners on the rocks

C&C, the company behind Magners cider, the brand that single-handedly reinvented the cider market, has issued its second severe profit warning in less than three weeks. This goes to show that having a hit product on your hands can be something of a mixed blessing.

Last Updated: 06 Nov 2012
The two profit warnings, which have wiped 40% off the value of the company, have been blamed on competition from Bulmers, a rival cider that has followed the Magners model and eaten into many of its exclusive pub deals, and bad weather. Of course, Magners' hefty ad spend couldn't have helped. The brand's success has been largely down to a lavish campaign giving the hard push to the pleasures of cider on ice. Judging from the extremes of July, they'd have been better off peddling the joys of drinking a pint of 'apples' in a rowing boat.

Brits are showing no signs of leaping from the cider bandwagon. It's just that Magners is no longer the only option. It's a classic case of the small, energetic company that has spotted a niche and marketed its way to the public's pallette, only for a slumbering giant of the drinks world, Bulmers maker Scottish & Newcastle, to open one eye to events and swat it with one hand.

All of which spells an ignominious period for what always struck us as a self-satisfied brand, built on getting the image-conscious to part with around four quid for a bottle of something more typically consumed by graveyard-loitering teens and the fiscally-challenged.

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