Scottish & Newcastle is investing £45m in cider this year - the most it has ever spent on its cider portfolio.

In the off-trade, the brewer's cider brands will feature its Biggest Round sampling campaign, which returns this spring. The brewer is hoping to reach half a million consumers through 2,000 days of sampling nationwide between May and September.

"Cider was the most-trialled category in last year's Biggest Round and this year's programme will introduce even more consumers to the great taste of cider," said Craig Clarkson, head of customer marketing (off-trade), S&N UK.

The company plans to use money-off coupons to drive immediate sales and a second voucher to encourage repeat purchase. "Encouraging people to try it will form the backbone of the cider campaign as we encourage more consumers back," said Clarkson.

Leading brand Strongbow will get a further boost, with £27m earmarked for the brand. Bulmers Original, which was resurrected in the UK by S&N last year, will be relaunching its TV campaign. The brewer has also confirmed plans to extend the Bulmers range to include new bottle and pack formats in the spring.

The focus of the campaign will be the Serve Over Ice message, "which has been a huge driver in growth for the on and off-trade".

"Retailers will see real growth in sales if they provide consumers with a chilled cider offering," Clarkson added.