A drinks category likely to bear fruit

The right range of cider can lead to sweet summer sales

A fruitful opportunity: a variety of different cider flavours can prove lucrative this summer

There are few drinks, if any, as intertwined with summer as cider. And when the sun comes out, and Scotland’s pub beer gardens swell to capacity, it’s the go-to drink for many thirsty punters. 

Yet there’s more that can be done to make the most of the category, drinks firms told SLTN.

Jerry Shedden, category and trade marketing director at Strongbow parent firm Heineken, said that with cider sales benefitting from an uplift of 10% during the warmer months, operators would be wise to stock a wide range of flavoured ciders.

“Capitalise on consumer demand for fruity flavours and a sweeter taste in cider by stocking the right range of mainstream and premium flavoured ciders,” he said.

This was echoed by Rhona Fyfe of C&C Group’s Orchard Pig cider, who said: “The trend for fruit-flavoured cider continues.

“It is important to stock several variants of flavoured cider, given the high consumer demand.”

Fyfe added that, in general, stocking a range of cider across both draught and packaged “is incredibly important”.

Rosie Fryer, brand manager at Kopparberg, stressed the importance of different ciders for different occasions.

She said: “During the day, particularly in the summer when drinkers flock to beer gardens, offering a draught alternative with the perfect serve – ice cold and in branded glassware – means consumers are willing to pay more for the product.

“Bottles/cans are crucial for the high energy, evening occasions to offer a more convenient format.”

However, Shedden of Heineken reckons that any change to an outlet’s cider range must cater to the mainstream first and foremost.

Licensees can ensure their cider offer sets them apart this summer by ensuring they offer the perfect serve.

Citing CGA data, he said that with more than 500,000 pints poured every day, apple accounts for over two thirds of all draught cider sales, meaning it “should be the first cider tap on almost every bar”.

“Avoid removing mainstream cider in favour of premium cider – you’ll lose loyal drinkers and significant volume sales,” Shedden warned.

“Only the most upmarket outlets should start their range with a premium cider.

“[And] satisfy the growing number of consumers limiting their alcohol consumption by stocking popular no and low alternatives, such as Old Mout Berries & Cherries Alcohol Free.”

Beyond consumer demand and the latest trends within the category, the quality of the pour remains a crucial element to sales success this summer, according to a spokeswoman for Magners.

“One thing that licensees can do to ensure their cider offer sets them apart this summer is to ensure they provide the perfect cider serve,” she said.