Heineken UK delists White Lightning

15 December, 2009

Heineken UK is delisting its White Lightning cider after admitting attempts to improve the image of the white cider category have failed.

The decision to withdraw the brand from the market follows a series of initiatives designed to encourage responsible consumption, including the removal of all extra-fill promotions and three litre packs across Heineken's higher strength ciders.

The company also reduced the abv content of White Lightning from 7.5% to 5.5% in April.

“We’ve tried to lead the industry with such changes. Sadly that has created the opportunity for other white cider manufactures to capitalise,” said off-trade sales managing director Mark Gerken.

He admitted that white cider “is a problem drink” for the industry because it tends to have negative connotations with "the park bench”.

“We’re trying to distance ourselves from the negative images that the old traditional category had. Cider is now much more about enjoyment, refreshment, sharing and over ice.”

Gerken added that in tough trading conditions, categories like premium cider “offer better, more sustainable profit opportunities for retailers”. Heineken has Strongbow, Bulmers and Jacques in its cider portfolio.

White Lightning will be dropped from March 31.

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