Operators are urged to capitalise on the outside drinking season
Cider sales traditionally pick up during the summer months as consumers flock to outside drinking areas when the weather improves.
But producers say it is vital operators choose the right products for their venue – and ensure they are displayed effectively – if they are to maximise sales.
Glen Friel, sales and marketing director at Aston Manor Cider, said summer is a key period for cider sales, provided customers are aware of the range of products on offer.
He said: “There is no doubt that consumers associate summer with cider – a refreshing glass of cider in the sunshine epitomises the British summer.
“This is the time for bar operators to capitalise on this – offering a good range and ensuring the stock in the bar fridge is well rotated will signal to consumers the great variety available and allow them to make a well-informed choice.”
When it comes to selecting the right products, catering for a variety of tastes is key, according to Kathryn Purchase, director of customer marketing at Carlsberg UK, which owns Somersby Cider.
“The secret to maximising the opportunities here is to ensure there is a good, strong range on offer that will appeal to a wide variety of palates and tastes,” said Purchase.
“With the diverse range of cider now available to consumers, clarity is key when it comes to stocking produce.”
She added that, with so many styles now available, it is important that ciders are grouped with similar styles and flavours in the fridge.
Efficient use of an outlet’s fridge space was also stressed by Andrew Turner, category and trade marketing director, on-trade, at Heineken, whose cider brands include Bulmers and Strongbow.
He said: “To maximise the significant profit opportunity, licensees should always ensure there is sufficient space in the fridge to display them [ciders]clearly as a cluttered display will confuse your customers.”
Fruit ciders continue to be a growth area in the on-trade, and Diageo recently introduced a new cider product under its Pimm’s brand.
Joanna Segesser, marketing manager for new products at Diageo GB, said: “Fruit cider is the fastest-growing sector within cider, and flavour and serve innovations have been a driving factor in the incremental growth over the last ten years in the category overall, from serving over ice through to a wider range of flavours and styles.”
New products may be adding dynamism to the sector, but name-recognition can also be an important factor when consumers are choosing cider, said Leighton Wall, head of marketing at Swedish cider maker Kopparberg.
“While there’s a lot of new product development within cider and drinks as a whole, it’s important that retailers focus on the proven winners,” said Wall.
“Variation is healthy, but by picking proven winners you give your consumers the brands they expect to see in the fridge.”
This was supported by Andrew Richardson, director at VC2 Brands, the firm behind Stivy’s.
“Operators should stock the leading brands’ best selling flavours and then look for something different, as there is little value in stocking a lot of ‘me too’ brands,” said Richardson.
Flavours and styles of cider aren’t the only examples of creativity in the category.
New serves are also emerging in the on-trade and John Logue, global customer marketing manager at Chilli Marketing, which promotes Swedish cider Rekorderlig, reckons cocktails will be the next big cider trend.
“Cider cocktails present an exciting opportunity for the category and we expect them to really take off in 2015,” said Logue.
“Cider no longer has to be constrained to a glass with ice, we believe it can be a relevant and exciting ingredient in a bartender’s repertoire too.”