Craft cider a key growth area for wholesalers, says Westons

Wholesalers are being encouraged to focus on craft cider, as this segment will be this year’s biggest profit driver, according to Weston’s Cider.

In its annual cider report, the supplier explained that craft was the only segment in growth in convenience, as well as total market, but there was still headroom to grow.
They explained craft made up 17.8% of value in convenience, compared with 19.5% total market. Distribution of craft cider was 92% across convenience, compared to 98% in total market.

“Retailers should be stocking several crafted apple lines. If the crafted category receives wider distribution across convenience, then this could single-handedly return the entire cider category to growth,” they said.

In terms of value, craft, as defined by brands that focus on heritage, averages £3.60 per litre in convenience compared to total cider at £2.53 per litre.

“We see an unlimited variety of ranges in convenience stores, with some seemingly not being updated to reflect market changes. Space within convenience remains a premium, but this channel is key for cider over and above other categories, so getting it right and updated to the latest consumer trends is important,” they added.

Elsewhere, supplier explained apple ciders should occupy approximately two thirds of total space within cans (including single, pints, four- packs). Interestingly, apple ciders in glass formats largely sit within the crafted segment.

Flavoured ciders also remain stable, and the main flavoured brands should be stocked in single bottle or four-pack can.

The top ten brands across total off-trade market in order are: Strongbow, Strongbow Dark Fruit, Thatchers Gold, Henry Westons Vintage, Kopparberg Strawberry & Line, Kopparberg Mixed Fruit, Magners, Thatchers Haze, Inch’s and Frosty Jack’s.

Westons’ eighth annual Cider Report also shows:
·      More than two in five (43.9%) UK households buy cider, while the average household makes 11.1 shopping trips a year for cider.
·      The price per litre is up from £2.31 to £2.40 as premiumisation continues to reign supreme.
·      While the southern bias persists, making up 62.% of all volume cider sold and 74% of crafted cider, these are both slightly down from 2021.
·      Of the top ten brands, only two are in growth: Henry Westons Vintage (+6.5%) and Inch’s (+131.6%) albeit from a far smaller base.
·      Flavoured cider has stabilised over the last year to around a third (32.8%) of cider value. While new flavours can cut through to create excitement and win sales, the most popular flavours continue to be dark fruit and strawberry & lime.

The trends that will continue growth throughout this year and beyond include:
·      Premiumisation picks up pace – this long term-trend is continuing and accelerating, as consumers are increasingly interested in the authenticity, craft and connoisseurship of cider. The crafted sub-category is showing the most growth and value potential, growing from 14% of the category in the off-trade in 2021, to 19.5% at the end of 2022.
·      Quality cues – consumers do not categorise alcohol as a ‘necessity’ purchase, but they do see it as a ‘comfort’ rather than a ‘luxury’, and alcohol sales have been seen to increase during times of economic downturn. In the off-trade, consumers will be looking for the best value for money across quality products.
·      Lead with apple – Apple cider remains the most popular cider type, driving the category in value and volume. Plus, the apple cider shopper continues to spend more per year than the fickle flavoured shopper and receives a higher share of spend from fewer shoppers.
·      Low & No – this sub-category is steadily growing and, in the off trade, space continues to be found for increasing ranges to offer the shopper choice. Low alcohol cider is now worth £29.1mn (+0.8%), which is lower than the total low-alcohol category (+4.6%) so this is expected to continue gradually growing. However, retailers should continue to prioritise classic apple and fruit ciders, which make up the vast majority of the category.

The full report is also available for digital download here.

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Paul Hill is the Editor of Better Wholesaling. He can be found on Twitter at @BW_PaulHill, or contacted via and 07960935659.


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