The Cider Report

What is going on in cider?

By Nikkie Sutton

- Last updated on GMT

Big deal: Cider has an estimated worth of £3bn to the UK
Big deal: Cider has an estimated worth of £3bn to the UK

Related tags Cider

The multitude of sub categories of cider are ensuring the sector continues to thrive and will be a welcome tipple for many during summer. Nikkie Sutton reports.

Oh arrh, ooh arrh ay, it seems one-hit-wonders The Wurzels aren’t the only ones drinking cider all of the day. In fact, there is a healthy glut of consumers soothing their troubles away with a pint o’ scrumpy.


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With an estimated value of almost £3bn to the UK, cider accounts for 6.6% of total alcohol sales and provides 10,900 jobs, according to CGA
Strategy data cited in the Westons Cider Report 2017​.

CGA on-premises measurement service data shows total cider volumes have increased by 1.7% for the moving annual total (MAT) to 31 December 2016, with value up by 2.3% for the same period.

Importance of visibility

In the total UK cider market, the on-trade has a value share of 63% and volume share of 36%. While more than a third (35%) of cider drinkers cite visibility of brands as influential when drinking out of home, according to Westons data.

But behind-the-bar advice is also crucial to 12% of cider drinkers, who see bar staff recommendations as influential when drinking out of home.

On-trade fruit cider volumes are up 32% and value up 28.5%, but the huge change over the past year is in the growth of draught fruit cider, which saw a massive 120% rise in value and 122% in volume.

This segment now represents more than 16.8% of total draught cider volume sales.

Though flavoured cider is shooting high, apple still dominates and holds 65% of volume sales. Yet these are down 6.6% year-on-year, according to CGA data in the Westons Cider Report​.

In contrast, fruit-flavoured cider has seen massive year-on-year volume growth of 32%, meaning it now has 32% of on-trade volume sales.
Pear, however, is still declining, owning just 3% of volume share with a year-on-year drop of 28.8%.


■ Craft: traditional/craft cider volume is 4% of the segment, but this area has the chance to drive growth by tapping into the heritage and traditional trends in the trade.

■ Fruity growth: draught fruit cider has risen to become 16.8% of the overall volume in the draught cider segment, up from 7.9% last year. However, this rise has not affected the growth of packaged fruit cider, which has seen a steady rise – up by 6.7% in 2015 and 7.9% in 2016.

■ Pear dropping: while pear cider has seen a drop in both packaged and draught products across the on-trade and represents only 3% of cider sales, it still holds more than 60,000 distribution points.

Different price points

But what about the different price points within the market and their performance?

According to the Westons Cider Report​, the mainstream segment, which is predominantly made up of draught brands, represents just over half (51%) of cider volume sales.

On draught, Strongbow tops the list, followed by Strongbow Dark Fruit. Coming third is Thatchers Gold, next is Westons-owned Stowford Press and then Somersby.

The top five draught products account for more than three quarters (77%) of total draught cider sales, up 1% from 2015. Collectively, the top five brands have grown 7% in on-trade sales in the past year.

When it comes to packaged cider, Kopparberg dominates, with the top two brands in the Westons Cider Report list. Kopparberg Mixed Fruit comes first, with the Strawberry & Lime variant second and Magners Original (apple) third.

In fourth place is Rekorderlig Strawberry & Lime followed by Bulmers No17 Crushed Red Berries & Lime.

It is notable that four of the top five packaged ciders are now fruit flavoured variants and only one, Magners Original, is apple. All four fruit flavours are variations on berry flavours, suggesting continued rising consumer interest in the segment.

Pear is not represented at all in the top five, reflecting the wider decline in pear cider variants across the on-trade. The segment has experienced a 28.8% volume decline.

This suggests the consumer has now moved on to new propositions that could open up an opportunity for operators to potentially switch their pear cider taps and bottles for faster moving lines.


The percentage of cider drinkers, who see bar staff recommendations as influential when drinking out of home.

Source: CGA Strategy

Premium mainstream

Premium mainstream is also a strong trend with a mix of draught and packaged brands, including Kopparberg, Rekorderlig, Thatchers Gold and Stowford Press performing well and holding 41% of the volume.

Some 4% of the super-premium segment is made up by draught cider brands, such as Mortimer’s Orchard and Aspall. This area is growing as consumers trade up within the category and the category premiumises.

Finally the report looks at the traditional/craft sector, where independent and regional producers such as Westons Old Rosie and Thatchers Dry are among the better-known brands.

This contains the remaining 4% of the category and has the potential to enhance consumer interest in cider and to drive growth through authenticity and variety.

CGA Strategy commercial director Graeme Loudon outlines how the cider category has been performing.

“With once-favoured packaged now in decline, a shift towards growth in draught has occurred,” he says.

“This is primarily being driven by the success of fruit variants, which drove growth in the fridge, and are now driving growth on the front bar as well. The fruit variants now account for one in three cider serves in the market.

“The traditional apple-based cider remains the largest sub-segment of the category and accounts for two in three serves.

“However, despite a number of innovations in this category, namely through further premiumisation and keg scrumpy and hazy ciders, the sub category remains in decline across both packaged and draught.

“With 24% of GB consumers having cider in their repertoire, there still remains a huge opportunity for brands in this segment to achieve growth through effective targeting and with 52% of consumers drinking premium cider, its also a great opportunity to drive value into
the category.”


of consumers drink premium cider

Source: CGA Strategy

Promiscuous drinkers

Fruit is up, pear is down and those within the Millennials demographic are becoming more promiscuous in their brand choice as well as being more likely to moderate their drinking.

However, cider’s heritage and value is in rapid growth and operators should remember that if they are to keep their cider drinkers sinking the
o’ scrumpy.

Related topics Cider

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