Premium cranberry ‘cider’ - A delicious new range of alcoholic drinks high in juice lower in calories.
- Cambridge, United Kingdom
Categories: Food & Beverage Mixed Digital/Non-Digital Mixed B2B/B2C
- Social Media
- Company number
- Incorporation date
- 5 Aug 2013
- Investment sought:
- Equity offered:
We believe Cranes is one of the most innovative on trend alcoholic drinks on the market. A lightly sparkling 4% alcoholic drink, Cranes is brewed purely from crushed cranberries, with added juice for real flavour. It comes in three distinctive flavours: Original Cranberry, Raspberry & Pomegranate and Strawberry & Kiwi.
Our drink is 100% natural, has an incredibly high juice content of over 16%, low in calories with just 99 calories per bottle, only 5g added sugar and a delightful twist of the natural sweetener stevia. This achieves great natural taste and meets the consumer demand for healthier drinks to fit with a generally healthier lifestyle. Cranes compares favourably to fruit ciders that are generally very sweet and high in calories, and white wine which is both very high in calories and alcohol content.
We’re an incredibly innovative company which lead to creating our unique drink but we are always looking to provide something different for our customers. We recently collaborated with one of the top UK mixologists to develop a divine cranberry and blood orange liqueur and called it simply Cranes Liqueur, which also makes fantastic cocktails.
As a thank you to everyone who decides to join us on this journey, we are happy to offer the following investor perks:
If you invest over £500:
• 20% discount on our website.
If you invest over £1000:
• 20% discount on our website
• and we will send you a bottle of Liqueur and mixed case of the Cranberry ‘ciders’.
Cranes was developed by identical twin brothers Dan (left) and Ben (right).
We live near Cambridge and enjoy keeping fit and healthy, and play rugby for one of the local teams. We were at University a few years ago, and like most students enjoyed socialising out with friends, which needless to say often involved a drink! Being health conscious, nothing would beat a vitalising glass of cranberry juice and it got us thinking what if we brewed the cranberries? . . . and that was the beginning of Cranes.
We believe that people always want choice in every aspect of their lives. When it comes to drinking alcohol there might be a good choice of drinks with various alcohol levels, all sorts of flavours, and visibly different products, but there’s much less information about what actually goes into a lot of alcoholic drinks, such as how much sugar, where the alcohol comes from, or how many calories the bottle contains.
The current label legislation does not require the manufacturer to declare the nutritional information of an alcoholic drink (unlike for foods), which means people don’t really know what they are drinking. For example, some branded flavoured fruit ciders have as much as 51g of sugar per 500ml bottle and only use flavourings with no real juice.
Cranes is high in juice and has only 5g of added sugar. It would be wrong to claim an alcoholic drink is healthy, but in moderation it remains an important part of how a lot of people socialise and relax. So we think people will always enjoy a drink, but that they will increasingly look to choose a drink that has healthier ingredients, but obviously still tastes great! We think we provide that choice.
Substantial accomplishments to date
When launched at the BBC Good Food Show in November 2014, both adult women and men clearly loved Cranes. The brand and product was then recognised by the industry as one of the top 100 best new products at IFE 2015 (International Food & Drink Expo).
How and why?
First we had to perfect the drink itself. Doing so took time and we enlisted the help of a food technologist to get the recipes right – balancing flavour and sweetness carefully.
We spent time crafting the brand logo and label design to convey quality and heritage. The name itself is simple and strong. Why Cranes? We discovered that in the 17th century cranberries were discovered in America and were given the name “craneberries” after the small, pink blossoms which resemble the head and bill of the Sandhill crane. Then we spent time and energy developing the brand with an FMCG marketing expert and brand design agency. We carried out market research with focus groups in London and Cambridge which showed that the concept, the name, brand design and the product itself resonated with young adult consumers, had strong appeal and real stand out, and they loved the taste.
We started brewing on a very small scale on a local farm near where we live, and then once we knew we had a good product we scaled up production investing in new fermentation equipment. We knew it would be better to outsource the final mixing, bottling and labelling to an established company given the prohibitive set-up costs and found Brothers Drinks Ltd, based in Somerset.
Within five months of bottling we were stocked by Ocado.com who support new innovative quality products. We are now also stocked by Shire Foods of Norfolk, a wholesaler who also distributes to retailers and farm shops. Talks have started with supermarkets, pub-chains and other retailers and initial responses have been very encouraging. We have just agreed a listing with Nectar who are the south’s leading distributor for the on-trade. We are also selling at a variety of exhibitions and festivals across the country. We are getting great feedback, people love the fact it’s unique – and particularly that it is only 4% alcohol, made from real juice and has low sugar content.
These initial accomplishments have given us confidence that Cranes can become a very successful consumer brand.
Our brand is trade-marked and we are confident that our recipes are difficult to replicate. Though we don’t ‘own’ cranberries, we believe Cranes can become synonymous with the fruit and all it offers and we aim to manage these elements (the brand and recipes) closely as they form an important part of the intellectual property that we aim to create value from.
We brew the cranberries ourselves at Top Farm just outside Cambridge, and outsource the mixing and bottling to Brothers Drinks Ltd, who understand specialist quality brands (they bottle for premium tonic waters and a number of other top brands). Once Cranes is palletised, the bottles are sent back to us for us to store and distribute from the Farm.
This means we operate a relatively capital light business model, where the investment in the brewing equipment is sufficient to satisfy up to 800,000 bottles per annum and with a small investment we can increase this. The bottling capacity at Brothers Drinks is significant and will help us to expand rapidly. Our low overhead model means our current set-up can potentially generate sufficient profit to re-invest in larger brewery facilities when demand increases and if demand spiralled there is an option of outsourcing all production to Brothers Drinks Ltd.
When it comes to sales generation, we are working with Boutique Beer Brands (BBB), a company that specialises in drink sales with a number of success stories under their belt. They are working with us to develop our on-trade sales, and have already developed interest with Matthew Clark and Mitchell & Butler with listings in Nectar. Exports are being overseen by Andy Hall, an ex Director at Fosters who has worked with RTDs (ready-to-drink product) in Export, which will be starting in July, with a pitch for listing to Canada the LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario).
Use of proceeds
The focus this year is to drive growth by increasing the distribution of Cranes and investing in PR and marketing to raise awareness and trial of the Cranes brand.
Specifically, we will use the funds to:
• Increase distribution and support sales in the on-trade through BBB
• Raise awareness and trial at more events and festivals across the UK
• Hire a PR agency to help drive awareness through coverage in press, radio and social media channels
• Deliver a targeted advertising campaign in London and East Anglia
• Production and inventory
Our target consumer is broad: the increasingly health-conscious drinker. People who enjoy drinking fruit ciders but would rather something less sweet and more natural.
Our core consumer is the younger adult female market 18-30, who seek a longer drink that’s not as alcoholic as wine or cocktails, and not as sweet as fruit ciders and less calorific generally.
However, having sold Cranes at numerous consumer shows we know the drink is enjoyed by all ages, and both men and women.
Characteristics of target market
The cider market is enormous and is valued at £3 billion with £1.7 billion spent on cider in the on-trade in 2015. Not only that but fruit cider is growing rapidly at 30%. If we were to achieve 1% of the cider market, revenues would reach £30 million.
Fruit cider is 26% of the on-trade cider volume and is predicted to be 31% by 2020 showing an increasing trend in fruit flavoured cider. 24% of Brits have drunk any other type of fruit-flavoured cider, with flavours in this adventurous segment ranging from cloudberry to toffee apple. In our view this confirms that Cranes has significant potential is this large market.
Spirits and Liqueurs were worth £5.3 billion in the on-trade in 2015, and flavoured spirits made up 19.6% of UK spirit sales in 2014 over double that of gin sales totalling 9.4% of the UK Spirit sales in 2014 showing there is also a potentially huge market for Cranes Liqueur.
The aim is to 1) show relevance to the consumer, 2) make them aware of Cranes, and 3) get them to try Cranes. This needs to be done with an integrated campaign that ‘surrounds the consumer’.
PR – Part of the funds raised will be used to hire a PR company to launch a targeted campaign this summer. With our unique story and product and with no PR push, we have already been in Vogue’s most wanted, and featured in Cambridge Magazine and Cambridge Evening News a few times. We have also been featured in the trade press including pieces in the Grocer, Pub & Bar and Casual Dining. So with a fully organised PR Campaign our story and product will be more widely and effectively communicated.
Event’s including Food & Drink shows – Events are great for brand exposure, getting in front of the consumer and getting the product tasted. At each Event we are able to sell the three flavours, cocktail packs, and Cranes Liqueur and have been able to break even or better still make a profit. Along with every sale or tasting we will give out an Ocado voucher and promote our own online sales, making shows a great cost effective marketing and sales channel. At the moment we have 35 events planned for this summer.
Social Media – We currently have 4,500 fans on facebook, twitter and Instagram, but using advice and getting help from a social media company means we can really push and extend our fan base and interaction on social media.
Email Newsletter – We are getting people to sign up for our Newsletter at events and on our website, and currently have 900 subscribers, but with the volume of events we are doing this year this will rapidly increase.
Brand Partnerships/ Ambassadors – We’re going to team up with top UK cocktail mixologists to promote the liqueur and to give bars exciting new ideas and how to use the liqueur in different cocktails.
In-Store Sampling – Another great way of getting the consumer tasting the product next to the point of purchase.
Promotion – We plan to drive national sales with price promotions with Ocado, highlighting the brand at key times of year, notably in the summer.
Cranes has a number of unique selling points. It is brewed purely from cranberries, it is high in juice, has reduced sugar and is lower in calories. Our main competitors are branded flavoured ciders such as Kopparberg, Rekorderlig and Old Mout Cider. Although we are not officially classed as a cider, or an RTD, we are offering people who drink these products a distinctive alternative choice. We believe we have more natural, better tasting and healthier product.
The fact we are unique and offer something a little bit different is expected to appeal to today’s more experimental consumer. We feel Cranes offers something new and innovative to the alcoholic drinks sector and along with our distinctive brand and PR campaign we aim to win over consumers from the corporate brands. Once we build a loyal customer base, and generate profit we will ensure we continue to innovate and grow the brand through innovative product development as well as well targeted, cost effective marketing.
The trend to reduce sugar is really starting to snowball, as shown by the sugar tax coming in for soft drinks and company’s like Starbucks promising to reduce sugar in their drinks by 2020. Alcoholic beverages will also come under scrutiny which we believe will only help Cranes as we lead by example.