Scottish & Newcastle (S&N) is launching a premium fruit-flavoured cider called Jacques, imported from Belgium.
The 5.5% ABV sparkling cider product is being launched this month, initially through exclusive deals with Sainsbury’s and the Greene King pub estate. A full UK roll-out is planned for 2007.
Primarily targeting 25- to 34-year-old women looking for a lower strength alternative to a bottle of wine, Jacques comes in a 750ml bottle, priced at about &£3. Marketing support for the initial roll-out will be restricted to targeted point-of-sale and ads in the Sainsbury’s magazine.
Jacques – which is flavoured with cherry, raspberry and blackcurrant – was developed in conjunction with Strongbow’s Belgian sister company, Stassen SA.
S&N UK marketing manager for ciders Stephen Mosey says: “We are firmly focused on recruiting new and lapsed drinkers at the premium end of the cider market by engaging with consumers from other alcoholic drink categories.” He adds that Jacques is aimed at “social occasions where friends have traditionally shared a meal and a bottle of wine.” The cider market, once thought to be in terminal decline, has been rejuvenated. Figures from Mintel show that, over the past two years, total cider sales have grown by 305,000 hectolitres to 4.5 million hl. S&N’s main brand, Strongbow, put on 290,000 hl in that period, while UK newcomer Magners went from nothing to 170,000 hl.
Further growth is predicted as new premium products such as Bulmer’s Original and Strongbow Sirrus bring in younger and female drinkers.