Scottish & Newcastle UK is going head to head with Magners by launching its cider 'over ice' brand into the UK.

The 4.5% abv Bulmers Original is currently only sold in Northern Ireland but Scottish & Newcastle plans to launch it in the off and on-trades this summer in time for the World Cup. The drink will be packaged in similar pint-sized bottles to its rival Magners.

The two brands have a history of conflict as Magners cider is confusingly called Bulmers in the Republic of Ireland but uses the Magners name in all other countries. As a result, S&N UK will not be launching Bulmers in the Republic of Ireland.

S&N's Bulmers Original was first sold in mainland Britain in 1982 and was relaunched in Northern Ireland in 2000, where it is sold under licence by Diageo.

Head of customer marketing Craig Clarkson said: "The heritage of the Bulmers brand and its premium presentation sit well within our expanding cider portfolio."

He noted the brand should benefit from the boom in the UK cider market, particularly in premium bottled cider.
Like Magners, which has seen strong growth in the UK off-trade since its launch last year, Bulmers Original will be positioned as a cider best served over ice, priced at £1.69.

S&N UK has been ramping up activity for its cider portfolio - which includes Strongbow and Scrumpy Jack - in recent months. Last year it launched Strongbow Sirrus.