Merrydown stranded by top departure

Cider and soft drink producer Merrydown is losing its second marketing chief, only three months after signing a marketing and distribution deal with Whitbread.

Merrydown marketing manager Deborah Merrens, who is head of the marketing department, is leaving to join Eurotunnel as a marketing manager.

The distribution deal, which begins next week, allows Whitbread to keg, bottle and market the Merrydown brand in pubs and bars. Whitbread will head the joint marketing board and has appointed its own brand manager.

Merrens was promoted from group product manager to marketing manager when marketing director David King left last month. King became marketing director at Scottish whisky producer Lang Brothers.

The Merrydown marketing department is being trimmed as a result and the company is seeking a replacement for Merrens.

The new marketing manager will promote Merrydown cider brands and Two Dogs alcoholic lemonade. He or she will also be in charge of the company’s soft drinks Shloer, PLJ and Piermont.

Merrydown reported losses last year of 2.7m, down 900,000 from the previous year. The company has been hit by cheap own-label products and has been forced to slash prices.