UK cider producers claim the UK launch of a Swedish product could threaten the premium image that has triggered a revival for cider this year.
Kopparbergs - which is branding itself as cider and comes in mixed fruit, pear and apple flavours - is recruiting drinkers through bars and has plans to target the off-trade before the end of the year.
A spokeswoman for UK distributor Designer Drinks said: “It is rapidly gaining recognition through bars across the country.”
But smaller cider producers believe it could go against their marketing drive to present cider as a traditionally English product. Kopparbergs is made in Sweden.
Cider sales in the UK have grown in 2005 on the back of launches including ‘cider on the rocks’ brands Magners and Strongbow Sirrus.
Martin Thatcher, MD of Thatchers Cider, said: “We use only English apples from Somerset, which we view as the best for making cider.”
Kopparbergs may also receive complaints for using ‘cider’ on the label. Nick Bradstock, a consultant for the National Association of Cider Makers, said: “If it calls itself cider and is taxed as a cider then it cannot contain any additional flavourings, according to HM Revenue & Customs.”
Kopparbergs is made according to EU cider regulations but taxed as ‘made wine’ because of its added flavourings, according to Designer Drinks.