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New lower alcohol alternatives from Heineken

The launch of Bulmers Cider Five Fruit Harvest and Bulmers Cider Indian Summer is the beginning of various cross portfolio products being launched by Heineken over the next year.

Heineken appointed design agency Dragon Rouge to come up with some creative ideas on how to make moderate drinking a positive and accessible reality for UK consumers. The drinks producer has led the CSR agenda in the beer and cider categories for many years and the agency’s challenge was to create a new, deeper and more positively oriented view of the mindset, motivations and barriers to drinking lower alcohol drinks among three life stages of UK male drinkers.

The view was that the UK market had not been short of moderate or low alcohol options, however, the dominant association with choices available had always been one of reductive, ‘watered down’, unappealing and unimaginative drink options. At best a camouflaged version of the full alcohol offer, at worst, a ‘wouldn’t be seen dead with’ distress purchase or choice.

So far, the project has yielded several new workstreams, including the translation of the male moderation mindset insights into a contextual ‘life map’ and also the shaping of male moderate drinker ‘archetypes’. Having discovered this positively rooted insight and unearthed more motivating drivers or reasons to actively choose more moderate drink options, the insights were tested and validated in a quantitative insight test.

Both drinks have been developed in response to the innovation platforms generated within the moderation project and present a 2.8%abv product in a new light and offer drinkers many positive reasons to choose and enjoy. 

Sarah Maddock, head of Innovation at Heineken UK says: “Dragon Rouge helped us develop compelling new insight into the complex area of moderation in alcoholic drinks. The project saw us develop a deep understanding of people's attitudes and needs, a key element in developing a strategy to target the opportunities. We've shared that work with some of our biggest retail customers and they've described the insight as industry-leading.  Our work with Dragon Rouge has undoubtedly helped us identify genuine opportunities for growth and given us a competitive edge.”

Kate Waddell, MD consumer brands at Dragon Rouge, adds: “We’re thrilled to see the first launch from a fascinating workstream and one which is deepening Heineken’s pivotal role in the promotion of responsible drinking in the UK.”

The final packaging for the Bulmers Cider Five Fruit Harvest and Bulmers Cider Indian Summer was designed by PB Creative.

Martin Porter, MD for off-trade at Heineken says: "As the leader of the modern cider category, Bulmers is the perfect brand to lead and develop the emerging moderation segment. The new variants performed exceptionally well in consumer testing and we are confident they will be welcomed by the growing number of shoppers who are currently unable to find a quality cider product with a lower alcohol content that delivers maximum taste and refreshment.

"Bulmers will be supported by a heavyweight marketing investment in 2014, spanning TV, outdoor and digital activity to drive awareness amongst target 18-34 year drinkers. Retailers seeking to maximise the moderation opportunity should stock the new variants alongside other lower ABV propositions like Foster’s Radler, creating a clearly signposted section for shoppers to easily find what they are looking for."


9 April 2014 - Felicity Murray The Drinks Report, editor