Magners’ owner C&C Group has attributed the cider brand’s return to volume growth to the distribution partnership it entered into with global beverage company Anheuser-Busch (AB) InBev in the first quarter of 2017.

In its trading update for the 12 months to February 2018, C&C Group announced that Magners grew by 9% in the second half of 2017, compared with negative 6% growth reported in the first half.

Across the entire financial year, Magners will record flat volumes in line with the UK cider market as a whole.

Magners’ volume growth also benefitted from the launch of its Dark Fruit product and greater inclusion in major retailers’ Christmas promotions.

The AB InBev and C&C Group distribution deal was signed in December 2016. It continued the existing arrangement for C&C to distribute AB InBev’s beer portfolio in Ireland and committed the latter to sell and distribute C&C’s cider brands in England, Wales, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.

C&C Group CEO Stephen Glancey said: “We are delighted to renew and expand the scope of our long-term partnership with AB InBev, the world’s leading beverages company.

“The agreements leverage the manufacturing, distribution and portfolio strengths of our two businesses in our core markets in the UK and Ireland. AB InBev will represent Magners and our other cider brands in England, Wales, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man and to UK national accounts alongside their portfolio of leading global beer brands.”

C&C Group’s trading update also predicted its profit for the year would be £86m ($120m), primarily driven by Tennent’s in Scotland and its super-premium brands, such as 5Lamps, Orchard Pig and Heverlee.