Artisanal expansion for stalwart cider brand

Cider maker collaboration at the heart of brewer’s latest range

HEINEKEN UK is moving in on the emerging craft cider market with the launch of a new artisanal range under its Bulmers brand.

The Bulmers Brand Pioneers range launched this month with the roll out of two new variants said to have been produced in collaboration with Herefordshire apple growers.

Cider makers Kier Rodgers and Sarah Hawkins have teamed up with Heineken to create their own branded ciders, Sarah’s Red Apple Cider and Kier’s Cloudy Apple Cider. The pair are said to have grown the apple varieties used in the cider and collaborated with Heineken on recipe development.

The first two ciders in the Bulmers Orchard Pioneers range are available from this month in single 500ml bottles. The launch is being supported by a £2 million marketing campaign.

Emma Sherwood-Smith, cider director at Heineken said the relationship between Bulmers and apple growers “has always been at the heart of our cider business, from the late 19th century when the company encouraged locals to grow apple trees on their land to the present day”.

“As the UK’s number one cider producer, we are committed to driving the cider category’s success for our customers,” said Sherwood-Smith. “Bulmers Orchard Pioneers will expand drinkers’ repertoires and act as a stepping stone into premium artisanal ciders, adding value for the operator and category.”

• Heineken’s step into the craft cider category coincides with the Dutch brewer’s announcement that it will be a Worldwide Partner for the Rugby World Cup in 2019. The new agreement will see Heineken continue as official partner to the tournament, with exclusive pouring rights, LED pitch advertising and tickets giveaways. The firm has released a short film available through its YouTube channel celebrating the deal.