CIDER STILL SOARING
EVEN AS BEER SALES continue to decline (barring the craft segment of course), cider consumption is soaring, with a 5O% increase in sales over the past decade. In addition to emerging markets such as the US, there remains significant room for expansion in the UK (the most developed cider market) where demographics and consumer preferences look set to support a further increase in sales. According to the Robobank report, cider was traditionally a very small beverage category, but in the past ten years the industry has undergone a period of rapid expansion, posting an impressive average annual volume growth rate of 6%. The United States accounts for about a fifth of global beers sales of $5OO billion a year, so each percentage increase there for cider could add well over $1 billion to the total revenue for Heineken and C&C. Beer consumption in Europe and North America has been in decline for years and is expected to keep falling.
This year MillerCoors acquired the third largest US cider product Crispin, and Ireland´s C&C Group, maker of Magners, bought Vermont Hard Cider Company, which makes the leading US brand Woodchuck. Anheuser-Busch InBev launched Michelob Ultralight Cider this spring, a year after its Stella Artois Cider hit the market in Britain. Angry Orchard, a unit of Boston Beer Co., went nationwide at the same time. Heineken, with 24% of the market, this year bought a Belgian cider innovation center and said it would take back US distribution rights for top selling Strongbow from Vermont Hard cider. In Britain, the sector grew 24% in volume terms from 2OO6 to 2O11, according to market research group Mintel over the same period, beer sales have fallen 23%. Cider sales are expected to rise 12% from 2O11 to 2O16, says Mintel and by 29%, or 5.2% a year.