Strongbow to roll out Gold over-ice variant

Strongbow is attempting to break into the over-ice cider market created by Magners with the introduction of a Gold variant.

The Scottish & Newcastle-owned brand plans to launch Strongbow Gold initially in France, Germany and Spain, but it is understood that the brand will eventually roll out across the UK, where it would enter a market competing against sister brand Bulmers and Magners.

The UK cider market was worth about £1.5bn in 2006 - a year-on-year rise of 16%, according to Mintel.

Strongbow is the market leader with an on-trade share of nearly 50%, with Magners coming second.

S&N's cider portfolio comprises Strongbow, Bulmers, Woodpecker and Scrumpy Jack.

Last year, it launched Strongbow Jacques, targeting women, in 300 Greene King pubs ahead of a planned roll-out this year.

S&N is poised to back its range of ciders with a £1m on-trade umbrella campaign (Marketing, 21 February).

Last week, the company announced that it plans to make cost savings of £50m over the next three years. It claimed the smoking ban would have a major impact on its 2007 sales, predicting annual losses of £10m.