C&C Group is set to release what it has claimed to be the first mid-strength cider in the UK for its Magners brand.

The Irish company said earlier this week that Magners Mid Strength, which will have an abv of 2.3%, will target  "an untapped market for a great tasting product that offers consumers the chance to opt for a lower abv beverage".

"This is the first time that a major brand has introduced a low abv offering to the cider market in the UK and we are convinced that this will unlock a whole new range of occasions where Magners can be enjoyed," said Scott Fairbairn, marketing manager at Magners.

"We feel that Magners Mid Strength will further enhance our premium positioning and complement our off-trade product portfolio."

The stable addition will be trialled in 550 Tesco stores throughout September, and will retail at GBP1.99 (US$) per one-pint bottle.

The Magners cider brand has struggled to repeat its breakthrough success in the UK in the summer of 2006. Last month, C&C said that cider revenues fell 10% for the four months to the end of June. The company has sought to innovate in the UK cider category with products such as Magners Draught, launched in May, and Magners Light, aimed predominantly at women.

Analyst firm Citigroup said in a note recently that C&C management were also keen to reduce Magners' reliance on the summer season for sales growth. C&C blamed poor summer weather for an 11% drop in cider volumes in the year to the end of February.