The China Post news staff

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Heineken officially launched its bestselling Strongbow Apple Cider in Taiwan yesterday in an event attended by the its development manager Joost Aarts, the general manager of its Taiwan division Michael Lim and the division’s marketing director Jeff Wu. The Strongbow cider launch is the first of its kind in Asia. The drink combines gold apples, red berries and elderberries flavors for a refreshing taste just in time for the summer heat.�@ To promote the launch this weekend, Heineken has outfitted an English-style double-decker bus to bring a taste of the British Isles to Taipei’s Xinyi District. Aarts, the development manager of Strongbow stated that it was an honor to bring the product to the Taiwanese market. Heineken operates a 3,500-hectare orchard, and uses 30 percent of apples harvested in England to meet the ever growing worldwide demand for cider. It produces over 70,000 bottles of Strongbow an hour. Over the past few years, the market for apple-based cider (which is second only to grapes in fruit-based liquor products in Europe) has grown at a rate four times that of wine and double the rate for beer. Heineken, which has established itself on Taiwan for 27 years, has noted the more than 10-percent rise in fruit-based liquor consumption on the island in the past few years. This rate of growth far exceeds that of beer (3 percent). Heineken Taiwan marketing director Jeff Wu believes that there is substantial room to develop the market for ciders in Taiwan, which is one of the reasons why the island has led Strongbow’s product drive into Asia. He added that Strongbow, at 4.5 percent ABV, provides a refreshing alternative to traditionally bitter tasting beer and liquor with higher alcohol content. Complementing the tastes of Taiwanese consumers, the gold apple flavor is clear and crisp, red berries pack a blend of sweet tanginess while elderberry embodies a soft, floral fragrance. Unlike other popular ciders, Strongbow gives off an authenticity both smooth and refreshing; the subtle sweetness moves the taste away from bitterness and sourness.

Heineken invites residents to escape the summer heat this weekend and drop by its double-decker bus in Taipei’s Xinyi District. While enjoying its premium ales, area residents can also view familiar English sights such as the trademark red telephone booths and wooden crates filled with fresh apples.