Heineken UK is to withdraw White Lightning cider from the market because of concerns about white cider's public image as a contributor to problem drinking.

The brand will be delisted from 31 March 2010, after failed attempts to take the white cider category more upmarket.

"White cider is a problem drink for us as an industry; it tends to have connotations with the park bench, said Mark Gerken, Heineken UK sales managing director for the off-trade, said at a briefing yesterday (14 December).
"We were the first cider manufacturer to take it out of three-litre PET and we took the abv from 7.5% to 5.5% hoping others would follow," he said.

"Sadly that's just simply created opportunities for other cider manufacturers to capitalise.

"We've decided that it's much better to concentrate on investing in the good things about cider."

Heineken UK owns Strongbow and Bulmers cider brands.