UK cider sales for 2006 will have been better than at any time in the past 40 years, thanks to the work of Irish drinks group C&C. The owner of cider brand Magners has worked hard to re-establish cider as a sophisticated drink, initially in Scotland and then in the rest of the UK. Its cider is now available in more than 60% of pubs in England and Wales. From March 2007, it will begin testing sales in continental Europe. Retail sales of cider grew 15% in the year to October and claimed 7.8% of the total UK alcoholic beverages market in 2006. The boom in sales has led to the replanting of 5,000 acres of apple orchards in Britain. However, the successful company is now seen as a likely takeover target, with brewer SABMiller a possible buyer. Financial Times 30/12/06 page 16 (Companies & Markets)