Bulmers tops Magners in UK ‘modern cider’ market

BULMERS, Heineken UK’s flagship cider brand, has overtaken arch‑rival Magners in volume market share for the first time in the product’s history, according to new data.

Modern cider is defined in the drinks industry as cider poured from the bottle over ice. Picture: Contributed

Heineken, the UK’s biggest cider company after the takeover of Scottish & Newcastle Breweries’ British business in 2008, has revealed that it grew volume share of combined on-trade and off-trade “modern cider” by 0.5 per cent to 21.2 per cent in the year to August 2013.

Modern cider is defined in the drinks industry as cider poured from the bottle over ice, an increasingly fashionable trend in recent years, particularly among younger drinkers.

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A UK spokesman for Heineken said of the market share gain, detailed in data from market research consultancies CGA and IRI: “In layman’s terms this equates to selling an extra 5.2 million bottles of Bulmers.”

In the year to August, Magners, which launched the cider-over-ice trend and is made by Tennent’s lager-owner C&C Group, saw its share fall to 19.3 per cent from 23.7 per cent.

Bulmers’ combined home and pub sales are worth more than £229 million, with the firm saying 40 per cent of sales now come from product variants that did not exist two years ago.

David Forde, who became managing director at Heineken UK in May, said: “Bulmers now enjoys the highest household penetration of any cider or beer in the UK.

“The brand continues to flourish thanks to a powerful combination of product innovation and multi-million pound marketing campaigns, which have paid rich dividends.”

Bulmers is second only to sister brand Strongbow in the wider cider category, with value and volume market shares of 9 per cent and 7 per cent respectively.