Gaymer Cider chief John Mills wants to raise cider’s image and make it “cool”. He is using the lion’s share of this year’s marketing budget to raise the profile of brands like Gaymers Original and Gaymers Pear at high-profile music events such as Glastonbury and the recent Download festival at Donington Park. After a decade in the doldrums, the company, which also owns Blackthorn and Diamond White, will return to profit growth this year, says Mills, who admits being horrified when he took over and discovered Gaymer was selling own-label cider to supermarkets at below cost price. Mills says he does not want “people drinking my product just to get pissed”. Gaymer does not advertise Diamond White or K Cider and has lowered the alcohol content of some brands, with Olde English down from 5.3% to 4.5%. Now Mills is thinking of doing the same with Blackthorn. Meanwhile figures show that cider sales, by value, grew 8.3% in the year to May, while beer sales fell nearly 4% in a market that shrank 0.5%. Cider accounts for 9% of the estimated £42bn UK drinks market with Strongbow, part of the Scottish & Newcastle portfolio, still the market leader. The Observer 27/07/08 (Business) page 9