So, let’s talk ciders: Friend, foe or fad? Or some other F word? Whatever your thoughts on the sweet, non-beers, the category is definitely growing and gaining more favor within the Big Beer ranks, which will mean more marketing muscle behind the category and more tied up shelf space. Anheuser-Busch InBev releasing Stella Artois Cidre, C&C Group acquired Vermont Hard Cider, MillerCoors bought Crispin, and Heineken added Strongbow, just to name a few recent moves.
A recent article on Bloomberg Businessweek title “Why AB InBev and Big Brewers Are Betting on Hard Cider” noted that the $601.5 million in hard cider sales in 2012 was about 2 percent of total revenue, but the trendline is point up as sales have increased an average of 27.5 percent annually for the last five years. The rise in favor is similar to the rise of craft beer, and the sources in the Bloomberg piece are tying these categories together in many ways.
From the article:
Charles van Es, senior director of portfolio brands at Heineken USA, says the company’s cider buyers are largely 21- to 29-year-olds who are ‘adventurous with their beverage selection and drink more craft and upscale beer.’ The craft beer boom has stirred up curiosity about life beyond Bud.
The article cites three specific groups pushing this increase: the young craft beer crowd, women and consumers avoiding gluten.
The perception that cider is healthier should not be underestimated. Says Agata Kaczanowska, an analyst at IBISWorld: “At the core of the movement toward hard cider is the health consciousness of Americans. It is fruit-based, so people associate it with a more positive nutritional value.” The gluten-free food movement has given cider a boost, too, because the beverage is naturally gluten free. NPD found that 30 percent of adults claimed to cut down on or avoid gluten completely in January.
Be sure to head to Bloomberg Businessweek for more on ciders – a trend that doesn’t seem to be letting up any time soon.
So, what say you? Will this growing interest in ciders help craft beer by moving more segments of the population to try new things, or will it be a detriment by stealing shelf space and market share? Or will it make no difference? Will you jump in and try your hand in ciders? Or another fifth possibility that will blow our minds? Sound off in the comments below.