Bulmers, the cider maker, has made its media and sponsorship manager Paul Butler redundant as part of a &£10m cost-cutting exercise.
It is understood that four other less senior marketing staff have also lost their jobs. In total 230 jobs are expected to go as the company – which owns Strongbow, Scrumpy Jack and Woodpecker – strives to improve margins in a mature market.
Butler joined Bulmers nine years ago from Scottish Courage, where he worked on Beamish. Although he has no job to go to, Bulmers is trying to find him a job elsewhere in the company.
Butler recently oversaw the extension of Strongbow’s sponsorship of Scottish Premier League team Hearts for a tenth season
The brand is also the sponsor of Leeds United, while Scrumpy Jack sponsors the England cricket team.
In the past six months, Strongbow has displaced Tennents, Carlsberg, John Smith’s and Kronenbourg to become the sixth most popular drink in the off-sales sector, partly thanks to a high-profile advertising campaign featuring Johnny Vaughan.
But over the same period, sales of Scrumpy Jack and Woodpecker declined by one per cent. Last month, the company reported that pre-tax profits had fallen by 23 per cent to &£21.4m, after &£15m of exceptionals (US acquisitions) and interest charges.
This week, Bulmers also unveiled a new look for its Woodpecker brand, which adds silver to the traditional red packaging, while keeping the famous bird icon as a key element of the design.
It also announced the September launch of Strongbow Spice – a flavoured cider aimed at the flavoured alcoholic beverage (FAB) market (MW last week).