A BRADFORD-on-Tone cider maker is ensuring demand for the traditional summer drink doesn't dry up over the winter.

Other cider firms are being advised to take a leaf out of Sheppy's Cider's book by looking for markets in the Southern Hemisphere.

Sheppy's currently exports to 15 countries, including Singapore and India

And latest figures show the UK now sends cider to 50 countries worldwide, with the British-made craft tipple cropping up in bars in cities ranging from New York to Tokyo.

Paul Shand, the Department for International Trade head of export in the South West, says targeting warmer climates during our winter helps sustain the popularity and demand for the range of refreshing ciders throughout the year.

But it's not all plain sailing - while exporting provides plenty of opportunities and benefits for cider producers, it can also bring challenges such as logistics and language.

Alcohol is highly regulated and, when exporting, it’s important for businesses to familiarise themselves with local standards and regulations. Requirements around labelling must also be considered.

For example, Sheppy’s needs to show the volume of its product in fluid ounces as well as in millilitres when exporting to the US.

Each country will have its own unique requirements and regulations, so it’s vital that brands research their chosen markets or get in touch with professional organisations for support.

Somerset has an unrivalled reputation for cider making due to its near perfect conditions for apple growing.

It’s no surprise that spring and summer are key sales periods for cider brands as the drink has become synonymous with the barbeque season.

Mr Shand says that as demand for cider continues to soar overseas, it’s important for local producers to know which markets to target and how exporting can help them equalise seasonal spikes in demand.

Warm-climate countries and the Southern Hemisphere can provide lucrative opportunities for firms to keep up sales year-round.

Cider is traditionally enjoyed in the sunshine, so with the Southern Hemisphere’s summer months falling between October and February, cider producers are provided with ample opportunities to even out Northern Hemisphere seasonal demand.

And countries with year-round sunshine are also prime places for British cider makers to consider exporting.

As part of the Food is GREAT campaign, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Department for International Trade (DIT) offer a wealth of support to help British producers keen to explore markets overseas.

Mr Shand said: "Not only is there a dedicated team of trade advisers across the South West to support ambitious and innovative businesses looking to access new markets and increase exports, but there is also a team of experienced sector specialists and an overseas network in over 100 countries.

"We can offer a range of guidance and support, including international market research and exporting workshops, as well as enabling contact with buyers and distributors in new markets."

Breweries and all other firms in the South West looking for exporting support should contact the DIT on 01275-370944 or e-mail DITsw@mobile.trade.gov.uk