Scottish & Newcastle is upping its presence in the UK cider category.

The company announced earlier this week that it is releasing a premium fruit cider imported from Belgium.

'Jacques' is a sparkling blend of Belgian cider with cherry, raspberry and blackcurrant. The 5.5% ABV product will be available from this month in a 750ml bottle, and will initially be sold exclusively through Sainsbury's supermarkets and the Greene King pub estate. A wider roll-out is expected next year.

Jacques has been developed in conjunction with Strongbow's Belgian sister company Stassen SA, and will target 25-34 year-old-women.

"The cider category has been completely rejuvenated in the last two years and, as the market leaders, we have led the turnaround in its fortunes through innovative new product development backed by heavyweight marketing investment in the category," said Stephen Mosey, marketing manager - ciders, S&N UK.

"Strongbow Sirrus, a 5% ABV premium packaged cider launched last year, has made a significant contribution to the rejuvenation of the sector and Jacques is ideally positioned to add genuine interest and value to our cider portfolio by offering a real point of difference in the drinks aisle.

"We are firmly focused on recruiting new and lapsed drinkers at the premium end of the cider market by engaging with consumers from other alcoholic drink categories. Serving cider over ice has shown what can be achieved by changing people's perceptions about the way cider is consumed.

"Jacques takes this development a stage further by aligning cider with social occasions where friends have traditionally shared a meal and a bottle of wine."

The success of C&C's Magners cider brand in the UK is widely thought to have helped the category up its profile in the last year.