C&C Group chief executive Stephen Glancey has said that he remains confident that Bulmers drinkers will remain loyal to the brand, despite the high profile launch of Heineken's Orchard Thieves cider last month.
"It’s very early to make any or have any real observation on how Orchard Thieves is either doing or will do," Glancey told a media conference call to discuss C&C's annual results.
"We’ve been around since 1936 in Ireland with Bulmers, and the brand is well-established. […] We’re quite confident that over the long term, Irish consumers will stick to an authentic Irish cider and not be drawn into a New Zealand brand that's made in England."
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Heineken's Orchard Thieves was originally launched in New Zealand by Redwood Cider Company, a Heineken subsidiary.
"While Heineken are great brand builders, we will stick with the authenticity of our product," he added. "We’ve had people launch ciders against us before and as we’re glad to report, the Irish consumer has always stuck with Bulmers."
According to results posted last week, C&C posted a 10.3 per cent increase in revenues in the year to 28 February 2015, its cider business in Ireland saw a decline of 7.5 per cent, of which volume accounted for 4.1 per cent and price/mix for 3.4 per cent.
Glancey added that the group is expected to announce details of its strategy to grow its wine business, acquired as part of the Gleeson takeover, in the coming weeks.