Cider Now 1% of Total Beer Volume

The tiny subsegment gets a boost from major brewers' entries

hard ciders Smith & Forge, Johnny Appleseed, Angry Orchard

CHICAGO -- "Cider is swiftly moving toward logging in another year of significant double-digit volume gains in 2014, and the major beer marketers each are staking a claim in the evolving category," wrote Technomic Inc.'s Donna Hood Crecca in a recent blog post. "Similar to craft beer, there’s a lot of excitement around the category, with new products entering the fray, splashy advertising campaigns and growing consumer curiosity and demand. Also similar to craft beer, two questions arise around cider: 1) How big is the opportunity, and 2) Does cider bring new volume, or does it cannibalize other categories?

"The short answers are: 1) not huge and 2) a bit of both."

According to Chicago-based Technomic's upcoming BeerTAB report, cider will account for about 1% of total beer volume in 2014, and the total cider category will grow to just over 10% the size of the total craft beer category. "Even with the strength of the major brewers now behind it, cider is competing with some formidable players for already crowded shelf space at retail and for sought-after menu placement, cooler space and tap handles in bars and restaurants," the senior director of Technomic’s Adult Beverage Resource Group wrote. "Cider is a unique beverage, however, imbued with attributes the current consumer values, and as a result, some labels are earning a place in the cooler and at the bar."

The market positioning of brands including Smith & Forge from MillerCoors and Johnny Appleseed from Anheuser-Busch and the flavor offerings in portfolios such as Boston Beer's Angry Orchard point to the other adult beverages cider marketers are targeting. "That said, the study also indicates that consumers’ beverage portfolio continues to expand, and cider is increasingly within the drinks consideration set, which leads to incremental volume," Crecca said. "Our research confirms variety is important to consumers both at retail and at the bar. Whether or not they ultimately purchase cider, its availability speaks to the establishment’s adult beverage credibility and appeal."