Magners/Bulmers manufacturer C&C has confirmed it is currently trialling a lower-strength version of Bulmers in Munster and plans to test a Magners product with 2.3pc alcohol content in Britain called Magners Mid Strength.
While C&C would not give details on pricing or UK trials, the morningadvertiser.co.uk website said the cider will be packaged in a pint bottle with a green neck foil and green front and back labels and will retail at £1.99 per bottle. It will be trialled in 550 UK Tesco stores from next month.
Magners marketing manager Scott Fairbairn told the website: "This is the first time that a major brand has introduced a low-ABV offering to the cider market in the UK and we are convinced that this will unlock a whole new range of occasions where Magners can be enjoyed."
Writing in a research note, Goodbody Stockbrokers analyst Liam Igoe said: "This is at a substantial price to its off-trade selling price for Magners Original, which is typically at the equivalent of £1.33 a pint. It would obviously be a boost to profits should it prove successful."
Mr Igoe added that, in the short-term, however, the newsflow continues to look negative as the extremely poor summer weather continues.
Nielsen data to be released later this week will show figures for the British off-trade market for the four weeks to August 8, and he added that this needs to show an improvement on the 2.75 million litres sold in the previous four-week period, if current forecasts are to be met.
C&C will issue a trading statement on Friday, August 29.
Last summer, the company issued a number of profit warnings as the inclement weather and increased competition from Scottish & Newcastle, which owns the Bulmers brand in Britain, weighed heavy on C&C.