Cider: the pride of Britain and the original innovator. From the ‘over ice’ serve to the introduction of the first ‘Dark Fruit’, cider remains the second highest selling drink (after lager) at the bar with just one or two taps and a few bottles in the fridge.

HEINEKEN UK’s first Cider Report reveals that Generations Z and Y (ages 18-34) make up over half of all cider drinkers, and are looking for new and premium flavoured options (38%). As a result, brands are responding with innovation in exotic flavours, with Old Mout Cider leading the way and accounting for four out of the top 10 selling flavoured ciders. The report identifies further growth opportunities in cider, as more than half of cider drinkers are willing to trade up and spend more.  This is allowing pubs to capitalise on higher throughput plus offer both a variety of flavours and trade-up options to drive revenue.

Draught cider is represented by a single tap in most outlets. This means premiumisation opportunities are reduced when compared to beer, as the higher price point for premium cider doesn’t counteract lower sales volumes – especially in draught apple cider. Unlike apple, flavoured cider drinkers rarely see the price difference between mainstream and premium brands as a significant barrier to entry. This is despite 64% of mainstream flavoured cider drinkers saying they would not switch to a premium brand on draught. With this in mind, apple should always be the first cider tap on the bar as it delivers 10% higher rate of sale than flavoured cider when solus stocked. However, with 41% of cider drinkers choosing flavoured cider, offering choice can increase volume sales. For the 38% of pubs stocking two cider brands, the apple and flavoured combination delivers 20% higher rate of sale than two apple brands due to the wider consumer requirements it satisfies.

The HEINEKEN Cider Report further demonstrates how flavoured packaged cider is key to generating more trade-up sales opportunities, as premium variants make up two thirds of all packaged cider value.

Stephen Watt, On-Trade Director at HEINEKEN UK comments: “Unlike other categories, such as beer and spirits, cider hasn’t premiumised at the same rate. But it is arguably the most innovative and trend-first drinks segment of all time. Cider, notably Strongbow, kicked off the dark fruit trend in the UK drinks industry, with many categories taking inspiration from the combination since. Cider continues to drive flavour innovation in the drinks market, showcasing the success of new products with the likes of Old Mout which is driving forward premium flavoured packaged and draught sales in outlets. The opportunity for cider is to build on the already strong sales success seen over the last 12–24 months by trading consumers up into premium and flavoured segments, while also supporting the mainstream stalwarts on the bar.”

Cider is widely considered a ‘seasonal’ drink, with the category clearly performing stronger in warmer months. Vitally, mainstream draught cider not only sells the most in summer, but also maintains its position as the best-seller throughout the year. This makes mainstream cider brands a great place to start draught cider ranges for most outlets.  The Cider Report explores how more can be done to drive cider sales throughout the year. Publicans can retain drinker loyalty by promoting best-selling mainstream draught apple and premium flavoured packaged cider in less popular months – ensuring sustained sales year-round. Providing premium flavoured options during cooler months also helps outlets maintain interest and continue to attract new consumers to the category.

Download the HEINEKEN Cider Report here.

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