Scottish & Newcastle (S&N) has reduced the alcohol content of its White Lightning brand and has challenged other manufacturers of 'functional' ciders to do the same.

S&N sales managing director (off trade) Mark Gerken said white cider was often reported as a "problem" drink and announced that from May, White Lightning will be reduced from 7.5% abv to 5.5%.

"While it would be easy for us to stop producing White Lightning, we recognise this approach leaves retailers and consumers with only cheaper alternatives," he said. "We feel that the time is right to offer a more responsible alternative."

Gerken added: "We expect to have to take the initiative, but it is important that our industry partners fall in behind us."