is a brand of dry cider
Cider or cyder is a fermented alcoholic beverage made from apple juice. Cider varies in alcohol content from 2% abv to 8.5% abv or more in traditional English ciders. In some regions, such as Germany and America, cider may be termed "apple wine"...
manufactured in England by H.P. Bulmer. Popular since it was launched in 1962, it is the best selling cider in the world, and its sales account for more than 20% of all the cider sold in the UK. It is also in a strong commercial position in Ireland, where the name has historical relevance.
Strongbow is named after the Cambro-Norman
Cambro-Norman is a term used for Norman knights who settled in southern Wales after the Norman conquest of England in 1066. Some historians suggest that the term is to be preferred to Anglo-Norman for the Normans who invaded Ireland after 1170 — many of whom originated in Wales. However, the term...
knight Richard de Clare
Richard de Clare, 2nd Earl of Pembroke , Lord of Leinster, Justiciar of Ireland . Like his father, he was also commonly known as Strongbow...
, later Earl of Pembroke
Earl of Pembroke is a title created ten times, all in the Peerage of England. It was first created in the 12th century by King Stephen of England. The title is associated with Pembroke, Pembrokeshire in West Wales, which is the site of Earldom's original seat Pembroke Castle...
, nicknamed "Strongbow" for relying heavily on Welsh
Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain, bordered by England to its east and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. It has a population of three million, and a total area of 20,779 km²...
archers during campaigns in Ireland
The Norman invasion of Ireland was a two-stage process, which began on 1 May 1169 when a force of loosely associated Norman knights landed near Bannow, County Wexford...
, where at the time the Irish had few bows and relied on javelin
A Javelin is a light spear intended for throwing. It is commonly known from the modern athletic discipline, the Javelin throw.Javelin may also refer to:-Aviation:* ATG Javelin, an American-Israeli civil jet aircraft, under development...
s. The cider is produced in Hereford
Hereford is a cathedral city, civil parish and county town of Herefordshire, England. It lies on the River Wye, approximately east of the border with Wales, southwest of Worcester, and northwest of Gloucester...
by the English cider company Bulmers
Bulmers Cider is one of a number of brands owned by H. P. Bulmer of Hereford. It is one of the leading premium bottled cider brands in the UK with a number of variants including Bulmers Original & Pear.-History:...
, part of Scottish and Newcastle, which in turn is owned by the Dutch brewer Heineken
Heineken is a Dutch beer which has been brewed by Heineken International since 1873. It is available in a 4.6% alcohol variety in countries such as Ireland. It is the flagship product of the Heineken company and is made of purified water, malted barley, hops, and yeast. In 1886 H...
. Bulmers were granted the Royal Warrant
Royal warrants of appointment have been issued for centuries to those who supply goods or services to a royal court or certain royal personages. The warrant enables the supplier to advertise the fact that they supply to the royal family, so lending prestige to the supplier...
in 1911. In January 2011, Heineken announced their intention to take the Strongbow brand global.
Strongbow is a blend of bitter-sweet cider and culinary apples, with 50 different varieties of apple used. It is mass-produced using modern methods, and contains apple concentrate and sugar. It is fermented with a controlled yeast strain, and at least some varieties are flavoured with artificial sweeteners.
The alcoholic strength of Strongbow Cider in the UK and Canada is 5.3% ABV
Alcohol by volume is a standard measure of how much alcohol is contained in an alcoholic beverage .The ABV standard is used worldwide....
(10.6 proof US) in cans and bottles, but 4.5% ABV (9 proof US) draught in pubs.
In the UK, Strongbow is available in four different forms. In draught form it is 4.5% ABV and it is 5.3% ABV in cans and bottles. Original
, Extra Cold
(draught only, chilled to a few degrees lower than normal draught Strongbow) and the newer Strongbow Sirrus
(5% ABV), which was launched in summer 2005 to compete with C&C's Magners Original Irish Cider. Sirrus was formulated as a 'smooth' cider designed to be poured over ice, and is only available in bottles, whereas the normal variety is available in cans, bottles and on draught. Strongbow Black (previously Strongbow Super) at 7.5% ABV, was recently delisted by Heineken on social responsibility grounds.
In South Africa, the USA and Australia, Strongbow is also available but is brewed to a strength of only 5% ABV. In Canada and Sweden, Strongbow is available at the typical 5.3% ABV. Strongbow is available in four varieties in Australia: Dry, Sweet, Original (formerly sold as "Draught"), and Clear (a low carbohydrate variety). Previously Strongbow White was available in Australia, which had a much higher alcohol content (8.5%). It ceased production sometime after 2000. In the USA and Canada, only Strongbow Original is commonly available.
Scottish & Newcastle have also extended the Strongbow range with Jacques from Strongbow
, a 5.5% ABV cider with cherry, raspberry and blackcurrant flavours, made in Belgium by S&N's Stassen cider mill.
In 2007, the company began trials of Strongbow Iced
, a competitor to other ciders that are served over ice. This uses a specially designed pump that creates a "head" of ice made from cider on the top of the pint.
The "thudding arrows" have been a signature of the brand's television advertising since the 1960s. Towards the end of the advertisement, two arrows thud into a bar counter near a glass of Strongbow, or its bar pump. The original Norman Archer logo was designed by Colin Fulcher, better known as artist Barney Bubbles
Colin Fulcher aka Barney Bubbles was a radical English graphic artist, whose work primarily encompassed the disciplines of graphic design, painting and music video direction. He is most renowned for his distinctive contribution to the graphic design associated with the British independent music...
Commercials around 1998 featured Johnny Vaughan
Jonathan Randall Vaughan is an English broadcaster and journalist. Vaughan has become well known as a television and radio personality and has also built a reputation as a film critic. He co-presented Capital Breakfast alongside Lisa Snowdon on 95.8 Capital FM between 2004 and 2011...
and the "live to loaf" line. The idea was to associate the naturally refreshing nature of Strongbow with a laid back attitude to life. During Spring 2007, the television advertising campaign was based around "total first pint refreshment (a-a-a-h)", and starred Tim Key
Tim Key is an English actor, comedy writer, and performance poet. In 2009, he was the winner of the Edinburgh Comedy Award and was also nominated for the Malcolm Hardee Award for Comic Originality.-Edinburgh Fringe:...
Strongbow were official shirt sponsors of Edinburgh football club Heart of Midlothian
Heart of Midlothian Football Club are a Scottish professional football club based in Gorgie, in the west of Edinburgh. They currently play in the Scottish Premier League and are one of the two principal clubs in the city, the other being Hibernian...
from 1992-2002. During this time, Hearts would be welcomed onto the pitch at the start of every game with the same words: "Hearts are sponsored by Strongbow; the UK's number one cider."
Strongbow also sponsored Leeds United Football Club from 2000-2003.
In Canada, the brand has been marketed since 2007 using the tag line "Shatter Expectations" through an advertising campaign developed by Round Table Advertising
Round Table Advertising is a privately held full-service advertising agency located in Toronto, Ontario. The company was founded as Round Table Advertising Inc...
As of August 2010, TV adverts in the UK are based on the "medal ceremony" scene at the end of the 1977 Star Wars
Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, originally released as Star Wars, is a 1977 American epic space opera film, written and directed by George Lucas. It is the first of six films released in the Star Wars saga: two subsequent films complete the original trilogy, while a prequel trilogy completes the...
movie: three men walk down an isle flanked by large numbers of men; step up a raised podium at the far end; and receive a reward - a pint of Strongbow - for their "heroic deeds" ( i.e.: performing their ordinary jobs ). The scene in Star Wars
, however, was in turn inspired by a scene from the Nazi propaganda film Triumph of the Will
Triumph of the Will is a propaganda film made by Leni Riefenstahl. It chronicles the 1934 Nazi Party Congress in Nuremberg, which was attended by more than 700,000 Nazi supporters. The film contains excerpts from speeches given by various Nazi leaders at the Congress, including portions of...
In 2011, a new campaign entitled 'Hard Earned' was launched to promote the product.
The commercial featured two men delivering a sofa to en elderly lady on the top floor of a tall tower, where they discover that the lift is out of order, and they must travel up 25 floors to deliver it, guided in a 'mission' style way by a third man.
Upon delivering the sofa, the boys take a sip of Strongbow in a bar just across the street, where they then receive an incoming call from the elderly lady claiming she has received the wrong sofa...this she does by using the words now famously recognised as the punch line, "This is Stripy, I wanted Plain."
An advert in the 1990s, which featured a black snake slither in a golden desert - which then fades into a similar image of bubbles in a glass of Strongbow - was very famous for being aired various times - each with a different version of the Deep Purple
Deep Purple are an English rock band formed in Hertford in 1968. Along with Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, they are considered to be among the pioneers of heavy metal and modern hard rock, although some band members believe that their music cannot be categorised as belonging to any one genre...
song "Smoke on the Water". The first version was 10 seconds long and aired in 1990, a 40-second version aired in 1995. A 30-second version aired in 1997.
From March-October 2006, one of Guinness' more successfull campaigns aired, which contained six advertisements with the slogan "Taste that hits a little deeper". They feature "annoying things" such as a mobile phone or a limousine, which get "thudded" by the arrows, cutting over to a bottle of Strongbow (or Sirrius) in which the slogan is said.