Those clever folks at Crafty Nectar share their insights on the key trends coming this year...
Abridged by Cider Buzz Mcr:
Heritage, provenance, innovation and quality
The main trend that remains prominent and has grown stronger since 2018 is that drinkers want to know where their food and drink is from, what’s in it and how it’s made. It’s all about heritage, provenance, and innovation, with quality prevailing over quantity and price. It is clear that the cider movement is progressing towards craft, heritage, and full juice content, as it grows from strength to strength. There is a cider revolution happening and we’ve only just scratched the surface.
So on top of that main theme, what do we think are the key cider trends to watch out for in 2019?
Craft Cider on Keg - #craftonkeg
Cider in 'on trade' and 'on draught' has been one of the strongest performing drinks categories over the past 2 years - growing in both value (+6.8%) and volume (+4.5%).
However, this is largely driven by mainstream producers with commercial draught cider (representing 71% of all cider sold on trade). Because of this, there isn’t the variety and quality of ciders 'on tap' that consumers are looking for and so there is a real opportunity here for quality, craft, full juice ciders. Many craft cider producers still continue to stick to Bag in Box, which can be difficult to store, depreciates in quality and only comes in ‘still'.
It’s apparent that there is a real gap in the market for ‘Craft cider on keg’ and there are a small but growing number of craft producers who are kegging, and we expect this to expand and grow throughout 2019.
Fine Cider Growth
James Finch (The Cider Critic) wrote a Crafty Nectar Easy Guide to Fine Cider back in November.
“This is an exciting trend that started to really pick up pace in 2018, consumers are becoming more and more interested in quality and heritage, but also in uniqueness and innovation. Nothing explores all these quite like the fine cider movement. Think of all the nuances that exist with fine wine; terroir, vintage, history, a story behind the product and then picture it for cider and perry.
There are brilliant producers out there making some exquisite products and their numbers are increasing, with some exciting launches expected this year. On top of that we will have the second Cider Salon Bristol in June, which promises to be bigger and better. The future is exciting.”
Fruit Cider Growth will Continue (with a movement towards craft)
The Westons 2018 Cider Report found that fruit cider now represents a third of all cider sales and is the fastest growing category. Draught fruit cider has seen a 38% volume growth and 41.4% value growth in 2018. They expect fruit cider to make up just under 50% of all cider sold within the next five years.
The problem with the fruit cider market at the moment is that the main growth in fruits is driven by mass-produced “made wine”, with low fruit content, high sugar (Kopparberg Strawberry & Lime has 53 grams - that’s over 13 teaspoons!) and additives. Consumer research shows that consumers primarily seeking a healthier lifestyle, want to know what is in their drinks and don’t mind spending a little more on products that contain natural, traceable ingredients. Fruit cider shouldn’t be frowned upon if made with a quality (pure juice) base cider.
In 2019 look out for producers such as Kentish Pip, Apple County and others producing fruit ciders with pure fruit juice.
Pairing Cider with Food
Food paired with Cider is overlooked, and it’s not something you tend to hear when attending a meal at a restaurant, and at the Stable, they aim to help bring this to life.
“In our opinion, Cider paired with food is better than any wine. A Ciders versatility and the different styles on offer give options to the consumer. Whether that be a traditional West Country style cider with bags of tannin, which accompanies any meat or earthy produce such as a mushroom, creating a beautiful balance.
Alternatively, a more modern style cider which is high in acidity that can cut through the dish and almost act as like a palate cleanser, giving a stunning freshness to your meal. A Key point to remember, Cider is much like a wine, but only better!”
Low ABV (Alcohol by Volume) Cider
It is clear the low alcohol sector is booming. Sales grew by nearly 30% last year and the sector is set to be worth £300 million within 10 years - accounting for 5% of the beer and cider market. There is a growing trend for low alcohol as consumers’ lifestyle choices are changing. (Westons Cider Report, 2018)
Jane Peyton, founder of School of Booze and accredited Pommelier had the following to say about this exciting trend:
“As the Low & No alcohol drinks sector is now one of the most exciting and innovative in the beverage industry I expect more cider makers to launch their own brands. It’s hard for cider makers to produce satisfying No & Low that really do drink like cider so whichever brand owner achieves this will have grateful fans of cider who may want to reduce their alcohol units very happy!”
Co what now? We were fortunate to attend Imbibe last summer (our cider was a top pick don’t you know) and learn more about this innovative category from a lecture from the likes of Graff cider in the USA.
If you’re in any doubt as to the potential of this why not check out Hawke’s Sour Graff (collaboration with neighbours Anspach & Hobday) or Love Child (collaboration with Brewdog), the collaborative (Jonny Bright, Alex Cook, Gabe Cook aka The Ciderologist and Tom Oliver) effort that is La Saison des Poires. Or what about Starvecrow’s qvevri aged natural cider or the fabulous Dabinett and Pinot Noir skin co-ferment from Once Upon a Tree.
International Cider Trends
Finally, Susanna Forbes one of the UK's foremost cider writers and experienced cider judges, gives her summary, expert insight, and overview of key International Cider trends emerging in 2019.
"Expect to see rosé cider arriving in the UK as it has in the USA, with blush seeping from red-fleshed apples as well as summer berries. The US will continue its twin-track approach, embracing the heritage sector with ever more eloquent terroir-driven ciders while embracing innovation and emulating the craft beer revolution by triggering more inventive “craft” ciders.
Cans are here to stay, collaborations are cool, and look out for the international Cider is Wine quality cider alliance. Education remains as important across the pond as it is here, with the US Association of Cider Makers following in the wake of the UK’s Academy of Beer & Cider to launch its own route to Certified Pommelier stardom. Major export marketing support from the Australian government might bring some of Down Under’s finest to our shores for the first time. Finally, look out for Ciderlands, the new international cider culture and tourism destinations alliance, coming to a website near you soon. All in all, much to celebrate. Wassail!” (Susanna Forbes)