Magners takes the low road

Mid-Strength version launched in bid to court responsible drinking set

Magners has launched a lower -alcohol version of its Irish over-ice cider in Tesco.

Magners Mid-Strength has 2.3% abv and will

go on trial from September

at the same price as the full-strength version - around £1.89 for a pint bottle.

GB marketing manager Scott Fairbairn said: "Consumers are after the premium taste of Magners but want to be able to drink it with lower alcohol."

The company is backing the launch with ads in Tesco's in-house magazine

and, if the trial is successful, will roll it out

through the off-trade

and to the on-trade.

Magners GB managing director John Holberry, who was involved in the launch of Carling C2 in his previous role as sales managing director of Coors, said Mid-Strength did not carry the same baggage as lower -abv beers, which have been launched against a legacy of poor low and no-alcohol brands.

But he said: "I think we have to be quite moderate about our expectations of this category. Drinking an alcoholic drink without alcohol is always going to be limited in the amount of volume it attracts.

"We know that consumers like lower -abv products, we know that there is a trend coming for more responsible drinking, and we would like to test the water with it because we think the category needs to provide an answer ."

Holberry also announced that Magners hopes to more than treble its UK workforce, from 30 workers to around 100, in a bid to engage more with the trade here.

"We don't listen to our customers as well as we should, and we have got to put that right," he said.

"For very good reason we were run from Ireland in a very structured way. Now it is time to listen to the UK customers because we are so big they won't allow us to grow further unless we take account of what they think."

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