Bulmers Cider is one of a number of brands owned by British cider maker H. P. Bulmer of Hereford. It is one of the leading premium British bottled cider brands in the UK with a number of variants including Bulmers Original & Pear. It should not be confused with Bulmers Irish Cider, sold outside the Republic of Ireland as Magners.
Fred and Percy Bulmer grew the apples at their family orchard at Credenhill in Herefordshire which would be later used to make the cider for which they became renowned. Production was initially at Ryelands Street in Hereford, the original buildings, including cider cellars survives today as the Cider Museum and King Offa Distillery. Production was later to move to the Plough Lane site it currently occupies in the late 1970s. Today HP Bulmer makes 65% of the five hundred million litres of cider sold annually in the United Kingdom and the bulk of the UK's cider exports. From 1937 to 1949 Bulmers operated with Wm. Magners of Clonmel, expanding into Irish distribution markets, from 1949 Magners withdrew from this partnership but retained rights to trade under the name HP Bulmer Ltd in Ireland.
In 2003 the firm based in Hereford was bought for £278 million by Scottish & Newcastle (S&N) with the loss of some 200 jobs initially. On 25 January 2008 it was announced S&N were bought out for £7.8 billion by the Carlsberg and Heineken groups. Bulmers now only survives as a brand name and subsidiary of the Heineken group, with operations in Hereford scaled back to concern mainly the production of cider.
During the spring of 2006, the company relaunched Bulmers Original in the UK, a premium packaged English cider aimed at the "served over ice" market, which has grown in popularity over the last few years. Bulmers Original is a 4.5% ABV cider and is primarily sold in pint bottles (568 ml). In November 2007 the Bulmers range was joined by Bulmers Pear cider and in Spring 2008 by Bulmers Light, which is the same ABV as the Original but with 30% fewer calories however this was delisted a year later.
In Summer 2010, a limited edition version of Bulmers was made, combining both apple and pear flavours in one and named 'Summer Blend'.
In Autumn 2010, another limited edition version of Bulmers was created, made using specially selected red Katy Apples which are allowed to fully ripen in the orchards before harvesting, and named "Red Apple".
The Bulmers Range currently consists of 4 variants. Bulmers Original, which is available in pint bottles, 440ml cans, 1l bottles & on draught. Bulmers Pear which is available in pint bottles & 1l bottles.
In 2010, Bulmers introduced the Red Berry & Lime variant to their line-up permanently and is still sold to date. This product is available in pint bottles only.
In the Summer of 2011, Bulmer's released the limited edition "Crisp Blend" which is made from sharper tasting apples, delivering a crisp and slightly drier flavour than the Original. It is available in pint bottles only.
In the same summer, Bulmers rebranded themselves with a new look and new bottles. In reference to the Bulmers naming tradition dating back to the early 1900s (at the time these were Bulmers 1 through to 8) they number-coded the different varieties with Original as "№9", Pear as "№10" and Crisp Blend as "№15". At the same time, the Red Berry and Lime flavour was permanently brought back, now named "№17".
In 2012, Bulmers have released a "Vintage Reserve" blend, made with the previous year's apple crop for their 125th anniversary and number-coded as "№18".
Two new flavours have been released; "Bold Black Cherry" and "Pressed Red Grape", both number-coded "№19" and "№20" respectively.
- "The Cider Museum". Retrieved 13 April 2013.
- "HP Bulmer Company History". HP Bulmer Ltd. Retrieved 27 April 2010.[dead link]
- "HP Bulmers LTD. (Ireland) History". Retrieved 13 April 2013.
- "£278m Bulmers buy completes S&N u-turn". Retrieved 13 April 2013.
- "Carlsberg, Heineken Agree to Buy Scottish & Newcastle (Update7)". Retrieved 13 April 2013.
- "Bulmers limited edition Red Apple cider" Talking Retail 11 October 2010 Retrieved 16 November 2010
- "Bulmers Red Berries & Lime at Sainsburys". Retrieved 5 January 2013.
- "Bulmers Introduces New Limited Edition Crisp Blend Cider". Food & Drink Innovation Network, 21 February 2011. Retrieved 10 July 2011
- "Product Launch: Heineken Bulmers No. 17".