- July 22, 2019
If there’s one thing that’s certain in today’s beverage market, it’s that flavor is king. FMBs, sparkling seltzers – even spritzers are making a comeback. As customers clamor for all things flavor, don’t forget about the original, sessionable, full-of-flavor, sparkling beverage that helped launch the craze: hard cider.
Recent data shows that cider is still a very explosive category. Angry Orchard saw tremendous growth in 2018 and it continued growing in 2019, posting gains of nearly 6% through spring.
Innovations have helped this once stagnant category reach new consumers. Of course, rosé ciders are all the rage, but brands like Strongbow are also responding to consumer desires for “better-for-you beverages” by introducing new, low-calorie slim cans to the market. These 100-calorie, 8.5 oz. slim cans are Strongbow’s take on the “light, subtle sweetness of Prosecco,” says Strongbow’s Reggie Gustave in an interview with Beer Business Daily.
And Angry Orchard’s new Spritz Rosé Cider, currently available only in Philadelphia, is a lower-ABV, lower-calorie, hard cider that balances the bright taste of apples with only a hint of sweetness.
Joe Cuneo-Tomasi and Jonathan Patrono of Jack’s Hard Cider confirm that the cider business is booming. “Right now, we’re seeing a cider explosion. Everyone seems to be drinking it,” says Cuneo-Tomasi. “We used to go to cider conferences and see maybe 100 people. Now it’s in the thousands. We can hardly move!”
Patrono says Jack’s success is founded on listening to what customers want, understanding how their tastes are changing and making sure their ciders reflect that. “Consumers are starting to move toward ciders that are much drier,” says Patrono. “With more and more ciders introduced each year, the consumer is exposed to so many brands and flavors that their palates are becoming more refined.”
Across the board, ciders are finding new paths to success. Woodchuck Hard Cider has been generating buzz thanks to their new Bubbly Rosé and Pearsecco releases. Magners has been on the cider scene since 1935. Its loyal fanbase craves a classic Irish cider. English cider E. Krispers made a splash stateside last year, having been imported into the US for the first time ever. Made with 34 different varieties of cider apples, E. Krispers is a cider with unparalleled character. Kopparberg was established in Sweden in 1882 and is known for their fruit-forward ciders like Strawberry & Lime and Pear. And one of the newest ciders to hit the market, City Roots Cider, offers an Original Dry flavor with no additives, sweeteners or preservatives: just crisp, effervescent, all-natural hard cider. Their seasonal Pumpkin Dry Cider is filtered bright and crisp, with some subtle, seasonal spices snuck in.
Savvy retailers are recognizing and investing in hard cider as customers continue to demand flavor, sessionability, less calories and more sparkle. Hard ciders continue to be a force to be reckoned with.