C&C Group has lined up the launch of a draught version of its Magners cider brand in the UK.

The Irish company, which today (29 February) issued a downbeat trading update, said that it will partner with Coors Brewers in the UK as its exclusive distributor for Draught Magners Original Irish Cider in the country. The roll-out will kick in during the summer.

"The partnership with Coors Brewers will greatly assist with the next phase in the natural evolution of Magners Original Irish Cider, said C&C's chief executive, Maurice Pratt. 

"There has been a pent up demand in the market for a premium draught cider which Magners will now fulfil. This exciting development enables us to reinforce our positioning within the premium cider category, further broadening our consumer base and offering a refreshing alternative to consumers."

Coors chief executive, Mark Hunter, added: "We believe (Draught Magners) will fuel further significant growth. It complements our growing portfolio of strong and well-loved brands, which includes Carling, Coors Light and Grolsch.

"I believe the launch of Draught Magners will be the next big thing for on-trade retailers this summer".

The roll-out will be backed by marketing support, both on TV and outdoor, C&C said.

Earlier today, the company warned that total sales for the year to the end of February are expected to come in 9% down on the same period a year earlier at around EUR738.5m (US$1.12bn). The expected performance, which is in line with a forecast issued last month, reflects "a decline in the cider division, primarily as a result of the loss of market share by Magners in Great Britain; the impact of poor summer weather; and an increase in operating and marketing costs", the company said.