The Westons Cider Report 2022 – the cidermaker’s seventh edition of the report – also revealed total volume sales had risen by almost half (46.1%) to 162m litres and value sales increased by a similar percentage (50.4%) to £1,153m.
When broken down into formats, the on-trade volume share was 73.8% draught serve (up 40.2%) and 26.2% for packaged serve (up 65.4%). For value share, this was 68% draught serve (up 43.1%) and 32% for packaged (up 69%).
Westons Cider head of business development Darryl Hinksman said: “The past few years have certainly been no picnic for pubs, bars and restaurants.
“With the Omicron variant of Covid putting a dampener on what should have been a big few weeks for cider pre-Christmas, it’s no surprise we’ve still got some way to go before on-trade sales are back to 2019 levels.
“But consumer confidence is on the up. It’s now at the highest levels since before Covid, with 70% of people reporting they feel confident visiting venues and the most notable increase in confidence among the over 55s.”
Hinksman went on to outline how looking at total cider sales, there seems to be a continuing recalibration between the on-trade and retail.
He added: “Compared to the value split of 37% to 63% in 2020, which – thanks to on-trade restrictions – was heavily weighted towards the off-trade, by the end of 2021, value sales were split equally between the two channels.
“On-trade cider sales were up by more than 50% last year at £1.15bn but we’re realistic that the category’s not back to where it was just yet.
“We believe there’s a huge opportunity for outlets to help build momentum and make the most of on-trade cider in the year ahead.
“This will be crucial when it comes to swinging value sales further towards to on-trade, chasing the two-thirds to one-third value sales split that was commonplace for the category during the 2010s.”
The report also showed apple cider had the biggest share of the market with 60.2%, followed by fruit cider at 39.1% and pear with 0.7%.
Fruit cider sales slip
Last year, apple cider represented 73.5% of draught sales (compared to 72.5% in 2020) while draught fruit lost share. Overall, apple cider represents more than a 60% share of on-trade sales.
Westons Cider insights and innovation manager Tim Williams said: “After years of robust growth, draught fruit cider plateaued in 2020 and then in 2021, it slipped into decline.
“It’s possible interest in fruit cider has simply hit a natural ceiling. Equally, the growth of authentic apple serves indicates cider drinkers are increasingly getting behind the traditional products that have always been at the heart of the category.
“We’re predicting 2022 will be the year of apple cider and on-trade retailers should make sure premium and crafted apple propositions are given prominence on the barn to make the most of these thriving sub categories.”
The report comes as Westons Cider released its Henry Westons British Vintage to the on-trade.
A medium-dry cider with a 7.3% ABV will be available in a 10-litre bag-in-box format for pubs, bars and restaurants.