Aston Manor’s sales grew by 4% to £113 million in 2016 and it now believes it offers a breadth of range that is unrivalled in the cider category.

The independent cider maker has invested more than £30 million in production capacity and innovation over the past five years and said that strategy is paying off.

EBITDA in 2016 stood at £8.2 million and the management team believes the business is in great shape to increase market share going forwards.

Chief executive Gordon Johncox said: “Our strategic plan is delivering ahead of expectations meaning we are confident that no other cider maker, perhaps no other drinks producer, is better established and better placed to respond to challenges and develop opportunities.

“We regard being responsive and nimble, even with our scale, as absolutely essential. Hence investment has focused on developing our manufacturing and packaging capability as much as expanding capacity.

“I believe Aston Manor now offers a greater breadth of ciders in more packaging formats than any other producer. With 17 product and business awards in 2016, and more already in 2017, it looks like others recognise what we have achieved and what we are capable of.”

The new figures represent a real turnaround for the business, which suffered an 11% decline in sales in 2014, and strategic investment is credited with the reversal of fortunes.

In recent years Aston Manor has planted 400,000 trees and invested in a new research and development facility that has yielded a pipeline of innovation such as mini-kegs and craft cider cans.

Chief financial officer James Ellis said: “Given that the intensive investment of recent years will reduce, we anticipate that our continued performance will grow income and profits.

“Having also invested time and effort into overseas markets, we expect to see exports making an even greater contribution.”

Johncox added: “We expect the extended Kingstone Press partnership with the RFL to flourish with the World Cup this autumn whilst our expanded sales and distribution footprint in the on-trade will support our ambitions in that key market.

“Although the challenges facing the cider industry remain, we are confident that as an independent, nimble and very capable business we can continue to make progress.”