Scottish & Newcastle is to relaunch its White Lightening cider brand with a reduced alcoholic strength in a bid to offer a “responsible” alternative to cheaper super-strength white cider brands.
The brewer says the strength of White Lightning will be reduced to 5.5% ABV (alcohol by volume) from 7.5% at the beginning of May.
Mark Gerken, off-trade sales managing director, says although the white cider category has been in decline in recent years there is still demand from “responsible” drinkers. “While it would be very easy for us to stop producing White Lightning, we recognise that this approach would simply leave retailers and consumers with only cheaper, same-strength alternatives,” he says.
The brewer’s move follows its removal of extra-fill promotions and three-litre packs across strong cider products in 2004.
Earlier this week the Government’s chief medical officer, Sir Liam Donaldson, unveiled plans to raise the minimum price of alcohol to combat alcohol misuse.
However, Prime Minister Gordon Brown has since suggested that he opposed the plans saying that the majority of responsible drinkers should not be punished for the behaviour of the few that abuse alcohol.