The Westons Cider Report 2023 by Henry Westons showed on-trade cider sales were worth £1.863.4m (up 61.5%) in 2022, with premium serves “outpacing” mainstream ciders.
According to Westons Cider insights and innovation manager, Tim Williams, this can be attributed to “tough economic times” as consumers “carefully consider every penny they spend”.
Williams said: “This year will continue to be challenging for consumers and venues alike, as pockets are squeezed.
“We know that consumers are looking for value for money, but also quality products.
“Consumers may be drinking less frequently but choosing better products when they do so.”
Draught cider sales accounted for 76.2% of the on-trade market in 2022, with apple deviations making up the majority of the category (75.4%).
Flavoured ciders stabilised at around a third of the category, of which dark berry variants had a significant share.
Additionally, the figures showed premium and craft ciders could command between 45p and £1.11 more than their mainstream counterparts, with 56% of draught cider sales coming from premium brands.
“Consumers are responding strongly to authentic brands with a sense of provenance as well as a delicious taste.
“Enjoyable and affordable pleasures [are becoming] more important, which sets items like crafted ciders up for success,” Williams continued.
Low and no ciders have also seen “steady growth” with the category having doubled to be worth £26.9m over the past three years.
Another way operators can maximise cider offerings is to look at ‘bag in box’ opportunities.
Speaking at the launch of the cider report at The Orange pub in Pimlico, London, on Wednesday 29 March, Williams explained bag in box was a “really great opportunity” to utilise unused hand pulls.
He said: “There are hand pulls that aren’t used, bag in box is risk free and something different.
“[It can also] make the front of the bar look more interesting.
“[Bag in box] is an opportunity for pubs to have a low-risk opportunity to add value to their range.”