Home' National Liquor News : NLN MAY 2016 Contents CIDER
"From a quality and sustainability
perspective, cans have plenty of
benefits too, as they weigh less than
bottles (and thus have a smaller
carbon footprint), don't suffer from
light strike, can maintain a better
seal and chill quicker."
38 | MAY 2016 NATIONAL LIQUOR NEWS
The clear high point in cider's exponential boom was in 2013, as
by 2014 value growth had slowed a little to five per cent. Volume
sales, however, were still up (by 11 per cent), with average prices
just levelling off from $10.67/litre in 2013 to $10.12 in 2014.
What's even more interesting is that much of that growth was in
retail, as on-premise sales growth dropped to just two per cent by
2014. Much of the blame for that flat lining is about the rise of craft
beer, with the average pub carrying just four taps with the final tap
decided by a cider vs craft beer dogfight.
According to IRI, however, off-premise cider volumes have
continued to grow, still sitting at 6.8 per cent in the year to January
2016. To put that in perspective -- and to illustrate just how
important the cider category is -- full strength mainstream beer
suffered a drop of more than seven per cent in volume over the same
period. Admittedly, that was tempered through gains in low carb
beer (which increased in volume by 4.7 per cent) and Australian
craft beer (which jumped 22 per cent in volume), but there is no
doubting the relentless cider popularity increase.
Perhaps the only thing that is troubling about cider is that volume
increases continue to be higher than value increases, a reflection of
the fact that more cider is being sold than ever before, but price-
points just aren't keeping up.
Conversely, there are some parts of the cider industry, that are
going nowhere -- and the biggest loser is no doubt the flavoured
cider segment. Once fuelled by the growth of cleverly branded,
exotically flavoured cider from the likes of Kopparberg and
Rekorderlig, this segment has reported a drop off of 13.4 per cent in
value and volume over the last year. Apple and pear saw the highest
growth at 8.3 per cent and 8.5 per cent, respectively.
According to Adrian Welsh, category manager beer, spirits
and RTD at Chambers Cellars, the trend has moved away from
flavoured cider and towards 10-packs.
"It's really trending towards 10-packs hugely now, which has
been a bit of a change over the last three or four years away
from flavoured cider in the 500ml bottles. Pretty much overnight
10-packs came into play and now they're flying."
Welsh's advice to retailers is to start culling your range. "There's
probably too many products in cider for the sales that it provides
and the fridge space it takes. My advice would be to start culling
products and just keeping those that actually sell."
THE FUTURE OF CIDER
There's a note of caution about this push towards cans and value
packs. Cider Australia's Reid believes that such packaging changes
have helped "grow the cider category from a volume perspective" but
have also "adversely impacted margins, to the point where retailers
are now looking for something else to help premiumise the category".
Indeed the recent push from Cider Australia is to recognise
that cider needs be treated more like beer and split up into quality
segments, with the finest cider recognised as coming strictly
from fresh Australian apples -- rather than from imported apple
concentrate -- and made with more complexity of flavour.
According to Reid, such products are a natural alternative to
craft beer, and it is time we embrace 'craft ciders' as an important
segment of the broader cider category.
At the very pointy, super-premium end of this 'craft cider' segment
lies what is referred to by Cider Australia as 'Traditional' styles --
ciders that are made in a style akin to ancient European ciders, and
typically show some tannins derived from the apples. Crucially, cider
in this segment is often produced from fruit that is grown for the
purpose, with cider-specific 'bittersweet' and 'sharp' apple varieties
used to produce more structure.
The biggest challenge in Australia is that we simply don't have
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