Scottish & Newcastle UK (S&N UK) has added another brand to its cider portfolio as it continues to meet rival Magners head on.
Jacques is a blend of Belgian cider and fruit of the forest flavours - cherry, raspberry and blackcurrant. Served over ice, the 5.5 per cent ABV product will be launched exclusively in around 300 Greene King Pub Company outlets in July prior to a wider roll-out in 2007.
The brand has been developed in conjunction with Strongbow's Belgian sister company Stassen SA. Market research that suggests that many consumers, especially 25 to 34- year-old women, are looking for a refreshing, lower strength alternative to wine.
Stephen Mosey, marketing manager for ciders at S&N UK, said: "The cider category has been completely rejuvenated in the last two years and, as the market leaders, we have led the turnaround in its fortunes through innovative new product development backed by heavyweight marketing investment in the category.
"Jacques will add fresh thinking and incremental value to our cider portfolio by offering a very real point of difference at the bar. This will recruit new and lapsed drinkers at the premium end of the cider market by engaging with consumers from other alcoholic drink categories," he added.
This launch follows a flurry of cider-focused activity over the last year by the brewing giant in the wake of the huge success of C&C-owned Irish cider Magners. In July last year S&N UK unveiled Strongbow Sirrus, a bottled cider aimed at younger consumers for high energy occasions. And only last month the brewer announced the re-launch of Bulmers Original, also bottled and also to be drunk over ice.