Throughout the earlier times of my young adult life, Stella Artois has got the better of me on both nights out and the morning after. ‘Reassuringly expensive’ as a brand slogan, you pay for quality. You get quality.
In the summer months, or on holiday. I branch away from my typical cold larger and have a cider, with a glass with ice. I see it as a treat, something different. The perfect supplement to a hot summers day and sitting in a beer garden with friends.
So imagine my surprise when I noticed recently that Stella Artois was branching out in the popular cider market. A market dominated by Magners, Bulmer’s (Technically the same people/product) Strongbow, Gamers. I was on the Docklands Light Railway heading to work at the start of April when I saw a billboard for Cidre.
At first I thought it was an advertising strategy for the larger product targeting the Bulmer’s crowd, I never contemplated that Stella would branch away for what they are traditionally known for, and if you think about it, No other larger brands have entered the cider market as a larger brand. But why not? The UK Cider market is worth big money, in 2006 alone “Sales of cider in the UK grew 23% in 2006 to 965 million pints” (BBC News), and after a dip in sales due to the credit crunch 2007-2009, that 965 million pint figure was hit again in 2010.
Stella’s position is an interesting one; they advertise it in their current campaign as “cee-dra” not “si-der” and regularly comment on quality and refreshing taste. With a European theme evident within the advert, taken from the Stella larger adverts of bygone times.
Stella as a larger, has many different images. No matter where it is consumed, it is known for its strength in alcoholic content ‘rocket-fuel’ & ‘wife-beater’ to give it some of its nicknames. In most pubs, it is seen as expensive, fine, tasting, and even with the Stella Artois glass you receive your beverage from in the pub, adds to the quality feel of your Stella Artois drinking experience.
Yet with the youth of today, you could find a 24 pack of cans in any student house, park, and council estate in almost any village, town or city within the UK. Personally I am of the impression that the beer is not as good when drunk from a can, and would go out of my way to find a glass. Yet this negative view of Stella is minor and in the end, as a brand, due to the brand being a strong one. The quality of Stella will always shine through.
In terms of the cider product, I feel their advertising campaign is spot on, they use the strength of the larger brand and Stella name to introduce the product, before highlighting that the product is new and they are going to be doing something different, without losing any feel of the original Stella Artois brand., again the quality shines through.
I have tasted it. It’s not bad, just as good as a magners, but in a different way. At first it was hard for me to grasp I was drinking orange/brown liquid from a Stella glass that was not larger. But over the few weeks, I grown to like the taste and personally I hope Stella Cidre sticks around, and many a more night will be lost to this fantastic brand.