US: Big cider brands drive on-trade growth - figures

By | 5 December 2013

Hard cider in the US is continuing its growth

Hard cider in the US is continuing its growth

US on-trade hard cider sales are continuing to outpace beer with growth being driven by the three major brands, according to latest figures. 

Boston Beer Company's Angry Orchard, Heineken's Strongbow and Anheuser-Busch InBev's Stella Artois Cidre, which now account for 45% of total on-trade cider volumes, drove around 99% of category volume growth in the year to early November, according to tracking firm Guestmetrics. The three brands posted combined on-trade volume growth of 317%, compared to around 230 other brands, which grew combined volumes by just 0.3% on the prior year, the figures showed.  

Overall cider category volumes are up 53% in the year-to-date and 52% in Q3. However, this was a slowdown on Q1 growth

In contrast, US on-trade beer volumes fell 3.7% in the year-to-date and is “underperforming” wine and spirits, Guestmetrics noted. 

The tracking firm said that restaurants offer an opportunity for cider, which still only represents 1% of total US on-trade beer and cider volumes. Currently 70% of US bars and clubs sell hard cider, while only 47% of “casual” dining outlets and 24% of fine dining restuarants stock cider. “The lower penetration among restaurants could represent a significant opportunity in terms of future growth in cider,” the firm said.

Anheuser-Busch InBev last month revealed it plans to launch a new hard cider in the US to capitalise on growth in the category

Expert analysis

Cider/Perry in the US

Beer manufacturers have largely ignored the US cider/perry category as sales have historically been less than a fraction of a percentage of those of beer. However, the contraction of the US beer category has caused many beer manufacturers and distributors to look for ways to diversify their portfolios. It was difficult for the industry to ignore the US cider/perry category as it posted 144% volume growth over the review period despite tough economic conditions.

Sectors: Beer & cider

Companies: Heineken, Anheuser-Busch InBev

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