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Hard Cider: The Other FMB

Thanks to a spate of new fruity flavors, this category grew over 12% during the pandemic. Light, refreshing and low in alcohol, this innovative RTD beverage – no bartender required – succeeds with men & women of all ages. So how do you like dem apples?

Consumer preferences have changed, but not all shelf sets or cooler door offerings have kept pace with those changes. National and local hard ciders are in demand. These margin-friendly FMBs are options your customers will buy if they can find them.

You know what they say about pork. It’s the “other” white meat. In an era dominated by hard seltzers, hard cider is the other FMB – and it’s one that your customers will want as the weather improves and COVID restrictions ease. It’s perfect for summertime sipping when everyone wants to beat the heat. There’s nothing like a warm, sunny day to drive demand for fruity drinks into overdrive because hard cider isn’t just about apples anymore. 

“Hard cider was a real success story in 2020,” explained Cara Tunney, Business Manager for the Vermont Hard Cider Company, owner of Woodchuck and Magners hard ciders among others. “Both national and local brands gained traction, which makes sense to me since today’s cider drinkers are a very diverse lot. It attracts consumers who identify as wine & spirits drinkers and has gender-neutral appeal. The typical ABV is in the four to five percent range, giving hard cider a toehold in the BFY segment. And it’s gluten free.”  

Flavor is a key driver of category growth. In his March newsletter, beer consultant Bump Williams attributed most, if not all, of hard cider’s growth to the array of new flavors offered. Vermont Hard Cider’s Tunney couldn’t agree more. “It’s not just a matter of sweet versus dry cider when it comes to flavor. Woodchuck’s fruit flavors are rockin’. For those looking for something that’s more like wine or a mixed drink, we offer Sangria, Bubbly Pearsecco and Mimosa flavors. And for those who want a more traditional hard cider option, Magners Original, Berry and Pear Irish ciders fit the bill. There really is something for everyone. And there’s more in the pipeline.”

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