Orchard Thieves steals onto supermarket shelves, aims to profit from the premium cider boom

Redwood Cider Co, which was purchased by DB Breweries last year, recently approached Running with Scissors to assist in the creation of a new product for the premium cider market, which is growing like topsy at the momentIn response to this challenge, the agency brought on Ryan Marx, design director at Marx design to work with Lisa Divett, strategic and creative director, on the development of packaging for the new product, a fruit cider that’s available in either mandarin and lime or raspberry and vanilla (they also worked together on the recent Whitlock’s rebrand).  

Redwood’s move away from traditional flavouring in favour of sweeter alternatives has been made in response to the growing demand for accessible ciders in the Kiwi market.

According to Nielsen, Redwood Cider Co still holds the lion’s share of the cider market with a 40.7 percent value share. Old Mout, which currently has an 18.4 percent value share, is growing at 20.1 percent per annum; Rekorderlig, which holds an 11.8 percent value share, is ballooning at a rate of 308 percent per year; and Monteith’s Crushed ciders, which hold a 10.4 percent value share, is growing at 67.9 percent.

Given the growth of Rekorderlig, it’s not entirely surprising that Redwood Cider Co and Running with Scissors opted for branding that has many parallels to the Swedish product. Both products are served in brown bottles; both feature prominent drawings of fruits on the labels; and both use black, blockish typeface for the respective product names.

But while there are some clear similarities between the products, there are also important differences that distinguish them.  

Firstly, Running with Scissors has placed emphasis on the provenance of Orchard Thieves by saying, “It’s a New Zealand-made fruit cider, craftily created with originality and vibrancy to appeal to Kiwi cider consumers.”

Another key differentiator between the bottles is the emphasis on the word ‘cider’ in the branding for Orchard Thieves. While this might be nothing more than an aesthetic choice, the identity of what the bottle contains is clearly important because it is reiterated in the Running with Scissors release, which says that Orchard Thieves is “made from freshly crushed New Zealand apple cider.”

The inclusion of this statement could just be a case of upselling, but it also draws a significant line in the sand between Orchard Thieves and its Swedish counterpart.    

Since its release in New Zealand, the branding of Rekorderlig as a cider has been criticised by some who claim that the drink is more akin to an RTD because it isn’t brewed in the traditional way.

When asked about this, Justin Hall, managing director at Redwood Cider Co, responded by saying, “Ciders can be made in a variety of ways and there are variances across all brands and styles around the world. The leading ciders in the UK and internationally are made in the same way as Rekorderlig. Just as there are variances in beer styles, there are variances amongst cider styles.”

New Zealand legislation, however, only recognises two of Rekorderlig’s products—Rekorderlig Premium Apple and Rekorderlig Premium Pear—as fruit wines, which explains why these are the only products on offer in supermarkets.

“New Zealand supermarkets are restricted by law to only selling certain types of alcohol e.g beer, (grape) wine and fruit wine,” he says. “Most ciders (particularly apple cider and pear cider) fall within the legal definition of a ‘fruit wine’ but some ‘flavoured ciders’ do not … There is a fine legal line between what can be used to make a ‘fruit wine’ and what constitutes a ‘fruit wine product’. It’s generally due to the nature of how the products are made. When flavourings (including natural flavourings) are added to ‘fruit wines’ they become ‘fruit wine products.’ Even though Rekorderlig ciders use flavourings derived 100 percent from natural juices, the fact they are added as flavourings means Redwood Cider Co. believe it is more accurate to classify these products as ‘fruit wine products’.”

In contrast to most options in the Rekorderlig range, both variations of Orchard Thieves are currently on sale at New World and Pak ‘n Save, indicating that Orchard Thieves meets the legal definition of a fruit wine rather than a fruit wine product. 


Running with Scissors

Strategic and creative director: Lisa Divett
Design Director: Ryan Marx
Copywriter: Guy Denniston
Account Director: Emma Wilkinson

Redwood Cider Co

Group marketing manager: Russell Browne
Marketing Manager: Luan Howitt

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