Westons Cider unveils £3million canning line
Westons Cider has unveiled a new £3 million canning line at its Herefordshire mill.
The production line, which began packaging 44cl cans of its Stowford Press earlier this month, will produce 12,500 cans per hour, which the company says “reflects the increasing dominance of canned products within the cider category and beyond.”
The latest investment in the business also represents a significant step forward, as Westons Cider continues to target ambitious growth plans amid a challenging year for cider in the on-trade.
Helen Thomas, managing director at Westons Cider, said: “Over the past year it’s become clear just how important it is for us to control our own destiny, particularly when it comes to getting our world-renowned ciders from our mill into people’s hands.
“Bringing all of our canning requirements in house means we’ll control our supply chain end to end and will no longer be reliant on third parties. This will mean we can provide a better service to our customers by responding even more quickly to future upticks in shopper demand.
“We see this as a great opportunity to futureproof the Westons Cider business by removing some of our external costs – plus the price fluctuations that often come with these – and exploring packaging alliances with some of our key partners.”
Cans have become a key format for the cider category in recent years, as shoppers move away from value amber and white ciders, often packaged in plastic bottles, towards more premium options. Cans now make up more than half of all off-trade cider sales (59%).
Thomas said: “Shoppers love cans because they’re easy to chill, recyclable and lightweight, while, for drinks manufacturers, cans offer a brilliant branding opportunity.
“Last year, as shoppers’ habits changed due to the impact of Covid-19, many of us switched to less frequent, higher spend shopping trips. This means multipacks, particularly those in canned formats, now command even more attention in-store. In fact, our Stowford Press 10-pack is up 540% year-on-year, demonstrating just how popular larger pack formats are becoming.”
Westons Cider currently operates comprehensive on-site packaging facilities for all its bottled, bag-in-box and draught ciders lines. The cider maker’s latest investment will mean all cider cans produced will now be packaged at its site in Much Marcle, Herefordshire.
The news coincides with an update to Westons Cider’s Stowford Press four-pack, which has undergone a packaging refresh to further hero the canned format.