Cider is the fastest-growing drinks category in the UK, so it's no surprise that retailers have been looking at ways of making profitable sales from this sector. The off-trade category is up 6.4% in value terms [ACNielsen].

Although cider is increasingly being seen as a drink that is ideal served cold, or over ice, the impulse sector is flagging behind the multiples in growing sales, with a 3% volume growth compared with 5% in the multiples, and 7% value growth compared with 12%.

However, in Scotland, where cider has a longer history of popularity and sales are second to that of the south west of England, the reverse is true. "Independents and impulse retailers in Scotland are getting it right," says Simon Russell, regional director of the National Association of Cider Makers. "Some thought needs to be given to meeting the growing interest in this sector."

Russell says retailers that stay ahead of the game are benefiting from growth in the category. "Tesco is one of the retailers we worked with last year to build a cider category into its annual brewing awards. This gave the winner, Henney's Frome Valley cider, a listing. Sales are up by 25% since October."

MD Mike Henney says sales of the Herefordshire-based cider producer's Frome Valley cider doubled in 12 months and it is now selling one million bottles a year, with listings in Asda, Morrisons and Tesco.

Martin Thatcher, MD of Thatchers Cider, says the industry doesn't want to reduce price or quality, so it should continue on its current path and reject any cheaper 'me-too' brands that are likely to start appearing. "My fear is that the current growth will attract cheaper, lower-end products, perhaps from overseas, that do not meet the quality or sustainability expectations that UK producers have been working to achieve."

Magners, the Irish 'over ice' brand that was launched in the UK last year, says it has retained a premium pricing position for its brand.

But pricing has been an issue for some. Chris Carr, MD of Merrydown, says: "We have been at £1.99 a bottle for years, so we have to find a way of breaking through this price point. I am getting concerned that we are being seen as a cheap product."

Carr says ten years ago a £1.99 price tag was regarded as premium, but with that market developing, Merrydown no longer ranks among the higher-priced brands. "We were priced at £2.15 in Sainsbury for a while and sales didn't drop."

Cider producers are largely encouraged by advertising and marketing campaigns overall. Thatcher says: "We are now seeing responsible advertising that promotes the natural, genuine nature of cider, which works to the benefit of the entire cider industry in the UK."campaign trail

Magners Irish Cider's summer advertising is the first of its campaigns to be launched across Britain. The ad uses the strapline 'Put everything on ice' to communicate a relaxed summer theme across TV, outdoor, radio and press formats. It portrays lazy summer evenings in the apple orchard and by a waterside pub, featuring the Donovan song Sunshine Superman as the soundtrack.

Carlsberg Budget: Part of a £10.5m spend Manufacturer: Carlsberg

Several former England football players star in Carlsberg's latest TV advert, which was timed to coincide with this year's World Cup in Germany. Different lengths of the 'pub team' creative were aired throughout matches played in the tournament, and showed players such as Peter Beardsley and Chris Waddle winning against a Sunday league football team.

Strongbow Budget: Part of a £27m spend Manufacturer: Scottish & Newcastle UK

Strongbow is featuring in a multimedia campaign as part of a £27m investment in the brand this year. Five TV executions and three poster ads look at pursuits that represent the superficial trappings of society - such as the obsession with celebrity lifestyles - before the iconic Strongbow arrows thud into view accompanied by the strapline 'Strongbow - taste that hits a little deeper'.