Cider has grown 3.5% in value and 2.2% in volume overall over the last year according to the Westons Cider Report 2018. The sector is worth nearly £3bn in the UK, with the on-trade responsible for just over a third volume, just under two-thirds value, and growing 2.4% in value, pretty much flat on volume. Seventy-one per cent of sales in the on-trade is in draught form.
But what are the lessons for the licensee from cider’s performance over the last year? We caught up with the report’s architect, Matthew Langley, insight and innovations manager at the family-owned cider producer, to distill down the essence from what has become the cider industry’s numbers bible.
In with the new
Draught cider might be growing modestly, but bottles and cans are in decline. Time to rethink the bar fridge layout, said Langley. At the front, taps are dancing into growth thanks to fruit ciders – within four years of its launch, Strongbow Dark has leapt to number two, behind Strongbow itself – while the fridge repertoire mostly remains stuck in the dark ages. Whereas innovation is evident in the off-trade where supermarket aisles afford both space and visibility, with limited fridge space available, there’s no chance to interest the exploring drinker or the connoisseur.
Styles are changing. While pear cider continued its decline in 2017, losing over 20% volume, ‘crafted cider’, the top of the tree in terms of price and authenticity, has grown by 17%. Not only is this where the interest and excitement lies, but also where trends begin, according to Langley. Yet crafted’s potential remains hamstrung if it can’t win space behind the bar. ‘The trade really needs to rethink its approach,’ said Langley.
Communicate cider better
Even if you’ve got the most hip, authentic range, if it’s not on display, no-one will know. Like wine menus and beer lists, think about cider menus. ‘Really show how cider has moved on,’ said Langley. Crafted premium ciders don’t need to be served by the pint. ‘It does them a disservice,’ said Langley. ‘They should be drunk like a wine.’
Make it look good
Like it or loathe it, your serve, pumpclip or bottle has to be Instagrammable, your cider lists and glassware too. CGA reports that 52% of late-night consumers aged 18-34 year olds uploaded an image of either what they were eating or drinking on ‘a night out’ to social media. So polish up those glasses, jazz up your bag-in-box displays and tee up some good-looking bottles and font taps if you want to be in with a chance.
Perhaps unsurprisingly given the growth in the category, Westons has joined the fruit brigade with the launch of Stowford Press Mixed Berries, 4%, available on tap from this month.
Keep up with the growing craft cider movement and read about four leading craft cider producers.
The Westons Cider Report 2018 is available as a free download