SHS Drinks has launched an amaretto-flavoured cider which it hopes will build on the popularity of the spirit-flavoured beer category.

Orwell’s weighs in at 5.5% abv and comes in 33cl glass bottles which will be available in take-home from June, rrp £1.89.

Spirit-flavoured ciders – or “spiders” – are a burgeoning category which SHS believes will be worth £50 million by 2018.

Orwell’s is described as “a refreshing blend of amaretto notes and a fruity hint of cherry paired with a crisp cider apple background”.

It is to be backed with an on-trade sampling campaign, POS, shelf-barkers and posters, with above-the-line ads, sponsorships and promotions planned for later in the year as part of a phased roll-out.

SHS Drinks’ innovation and development head Mark Hopper said: “It is always our intention to bring true innovation that adds value to the market. There’s a huge amount of consumer interest in cider with almost two-thirds of the adult population now including cider in their drinks repertoire. Flavoured cider is now the biggest sector, accounting for approaching half (44%) of take-home premium glass-bottled cider sales, and with flavoured cider sales up 44% it’s also been the powerhouse of the category during the past year.

“This demonstrates that there is still plenty of ‘stretch’ within the cider category to accommodate this new spirit cider sector, which brings together two categories which are both credible and highly motivating for consumers, and we’ve also seen the impact that spirit-flavoured beers have had in revitalising the premium packaged lager category. Also this blurring and crossover of categories isn’t just confined to alcohol drinks, we’re seeing it throughout the FMCG market from chocolate-flavoured cheese to pizza burgers.”

He added:  “Entering the spider category is not something we have rushed into as it’s been important for us to create an exciting and motivating flavour profile which pushes the boundaries and is a little unusual.  We’ve been developing Orwell’s and have been talking to customers about the spiders opportunity for around a year. During this time we have been fine-tuning the balance of the flavours, while also gaining valuable consumer and market insights from the launch of our bourbon and rum-flavoured spirit beers. 

“Orwell’s has been well received in consumer taste tests and we believe this hybrid spirit cider combination will extend cider consumption into new occasions as it is more likely to be purchased for higher energy, brand-in-hand social occasions than the mellower, lower-key social occasions usually associated with cider.”