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Heineken ramps up pressure on C&C Group in Ireland with cider launch

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Heineken has confirmed it is to launch a new cider in Ireland as it continues to spar with the country's category leader, C&C Group's Bulmers.

Heineken said it would reveal more details on the new cider in the coming weeks

Heineken said it would reveal more details on the new cider in the coming weeks

A spokesperson for the Dutch brewer told just-drinks today it will launch the "brand-new" cider iteration "soon". Further details were not disclosed, however the spokesperson said the brand's name and other information will be revealed over the coming weeks.

Heineken is causing a stir in the Irish cider category with the success of its Orchard Thieves brand, which has cut into Bulmers' market dominance since its launch in 2015. Previously accounting for as much as 98% of the Irish cider market, Bulmers' share has dropped to about 90%. C&C Group' management has accused Heineken of investing heavily in the Irish on-premise to secure crucial tap space in the country's bars, to the detriment of Bulmers.

The launch will likely add a new front to the expanding Irish cider scene, which has seen the launch not only of Orchard Thieves but retaliatory innovations from C&C Group such as Outcider, a sweeter version of Bulmers aimed at younger consumers. Last year, Bulmers staff told just-drinks that product developers are testing liquid that one day could be used in a new range of spirits under the Bulmers brand.

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