Suffolk: Cider producer Aspall reports 55% jump in export sales

SUFFOLK cider producer Aspall has reported a 55% increase in export business over the last year. And the company, based near Debenham, forecasts that overseas sales will continue to grow at least at the same rate in the next 12 months, with growth in exports likely to surpass that of domestic sales as international business becomes a key part of its growth strategy.

Aspall Draught Suffolk Cyder in bottled format accounts for most of Aspall’s international sales but the same product in keg format is also available in a number of countries, with Aspall’s flagship Premier Cru its main seller in the United States.

Other overseas markets include Russia, Japan and Australia, with Brazil, Germany, New Zealand and Austria having been added in the past 12 months.

Henry Chevallier Guild, Aspall director and head of export, said: “Our export sales are particularly strong in Australia, where Aspall Suffolk Cyder has grown eight-fold in the last five years.

“Australia now accounts for a third of our total export business, which has undoubtedly been helped by the massive craft cider revolution in the country in the last 12 months.

“We have also experienced phenomenal success in Japan, with sales having doubled in the last 12 months. We had identified a gap in the Japanese market for super-premium imported cider products, however sales have truly exceeded all expectations.

“Japanese drinkers are drawn to the combination of Aspall’s rich heritage and history with our cyders having been produced at the same site in Suffolk since 1728, and the fact that our products are consistently the best quality available.”

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Total cider business at Aspall was up 57% during the three months to 31 December, the third quarter of its financial year.

The most significant growth came from Aspall Draught Suffolk Cyder with total sales up 65%. Aspall’s on-trade sales were up 58% year-on-year, while off-trade sales grew 44% year-on-year overall, showing consistent growth in both sectors. Mr Chevallier Guild added that Aspall is set to launch its ciders into emerging markets such as China and India imminently, as the company continues to pave the way for other British brands to export abroad.

“Export is a pivotal part of Aspall’s growth strategy,” he said. “British food and drink is viewed very strongly in the global marketplace as consumers are drawn to British products with real history and heritage. Such products seem to provide a sense of reassurance; they can be trusted to live up to consumers’ expectations.

“The trend for ‘Britishness’ is likely to become even more prevalent this year with the series of high profile events happening in the UK this summer such as the Queen’s Jubilee Weekend and of course the Olympics raising Britain’s profile.”

Aspall is now run by the eighth generation of the Chevallier family, who continue to ensure that quality is never compromised and that the company continues to produce multi-award winning products.