Future Trends: Beer and Cider

Beer and cider trends from home and away

By Nikkie Sutton

- Last updated on GMT

Category update: CGA commercial director Graeme Loudon outlined the latest sales and figures for beer and cider at the event
Category update: CGA commercial director Graeme Loudon outlined the latest sales and figures for beer and cider at the event

Related tags Brewery Brewing Alcoholic beverage

Operators should expect to see more new craft beer and cider launches in the months ahead as experts in the sector predict a dramatic boost in consumer interest. 

The on-trade drinks specialists updated delegates at The Morning Advertiser​'s Future Trends: Beer and Cider summit earlier this month (26 June), highlighting the patterns and predictions to look out for in both categories.

Here is what experts believe will happen in the future and why:

State of play now:

  • Beer continues to lose share within the on-trade while cider gains
  • Innovation continues to drive growth areas within the category
  • Long-standing brands are now using new product development (NPD) cues to premiumise and update brand position
  • 2,400 new beer and cider products have launched within the past three years
  • Craft is dominant, driving a huge proportion of all NPD
  • However, the often niche products do not capture their fair share of volume
  • With so much choice, getting the right range in the right outlet is increasingly difficult to navigate
  • Three in four beer and cider consumers say range is important when choosing where to drink
  • On-trend categories do not drive sale in all markets
  • Focus on knowing your customer, their motivation and needs, occasion and usage to ensure your range drives satisfaction
  • The average pub sells 13 beers and two ciders on draught, with one in three pubs selling draught craft beer and one in five selling draught fruit cider

CGA Strategy commercial director Graeme Loudon outlined how beer had the biggest share of sales in the drinks market but, this has changed from last year.

He said: “Beer remains the biggest share, up there with 42% of all wet sales but this share is down by 0.2% year on year.

Beer in numbers:

  • Total beer volume – down 2.4%
  • Craft beer volume – up 18.8%
  • Premium world lager volume – up 8.8%

“That is an improvement from when I stood here last year, where it was down 0.8 percentage points so we are moving in the right direction.

“We can also see that cider has gained a 0.1% share of the market compared to last year when this was flat, representing improvement in performance.”

However, Loudon also highlighted what he predicts could impact the performance of beer and cider.

Threat to beer and cider

Cider in numbers:

  • Total cider volume – up 0.9%
  • Apple cider volume – down 6.6%
  • Fruit cider volume – up 22.2%

He said: “The continued threat for the beer and cider market comes from the spirits category, which has grown 0.3 percentage points share over the past year.

“The spirits market has done particularly well and is giving a really diverse offering. You can get a good spirit for that experience-driven explorer but also, it targets the value-for-money consumer as well.”

Top trends:

  • Brand repositioning
  • Health agenda
  • Flavours
  • Experience

The Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) operations director Nick Stafford emphasised the importance of change in the trade and how to make the most of it.

He said: “It was about evolution and now it’s revolution.

“The good part of a revolution is there are so many more breweries out there that this forces every brewery to really look at what it is doing.

“They need to look at quality – the quality of the bar and of the beer brand is absolutely vital. Not just the quality of the beer that comes from the brewery but the quality in the way it is dispensed over the bar.”

Revolution rather than evolution:

  • What was cloudy is now craft
  • What was grossly bitter is now full of flavour
  • What was a bad beer is now an innovation
  • What was a pint is now 330ml
  • What was real ale is now a can
  • What was nutritional is now vegetarian or organic
  • What was brewery-conditioned is now a waste of money

Stafford, who has been a licensee for more than two decades and runs his own brewery, outlined how staff training and education is crucial to selling the beer well.

Knowledge is power

He added: “Bar sales people actually being knowledgeable about the beer [is important].

“It’s a challenge and there should be courses on knowledge, like a taxi driver running around London, there should be a course on knowledge of breweries in the UK.”

“We have had a resurgence over the past five years of this interest in beer and I find that fundamentally essential to the further growth of the beer industry.”

Cider trends

  • Craft cider
  • The ‘dry’ phenomenon
  • Cans
  • Next-generation flavours
  • Cider bars

From beer to cider, craft, a dry flavour, cans and bars are the main trends in the scrumpy category, according to ciderologist Gabe Cook.

After a whistle-stop tour of Australia, New Zealand and the US, Cook brought the lessons he learned to the beer and cider event.

He said: “There are some amazing things happening all around the world that bring such vitality, life and breadth to the category and really emphasise the quality in cider.

“There is an association with craft being a drier, more challenging product, which is also really on-trend right now.”

However, when it comes to canning, Cook said just because a cider is in a can it doesn’t equate to it being craft, it has to be of the right standard and it has to be telling the right story.”

The Future Trends: Beer and Cider event would like to thank sponsors and bar partners Aston Manor, Hop House 13, Kegstar, Smirnoff Cider, Vianet, Willis Publicity, The Brewers Association, BrewDog, Kentish Pip, Saxbys and the Society of Independent Brewers for making the event possible.

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