Consumer Trends in Hard Cider

"Cider has proven to be the world's fastest growing beverage category over the last 10 years."

– Carla Snyder, Agricultural Entrepreneurship and Marketing Educator with Penn State University

Compared to the craft beer industry, cider is second only to IPAs.

A major trend in the craft beer industry is a focus on the quality and origin of ingredients. Snyder says that it’s important that cider makers convey this kind of information to their customers.

“Just like IPA drinkers want to know what kind of hops are used – where are they grown and the flavor profile – folks want to know that about your apple varieties,” said Snyder. “This is an important educational piece you can take to consumers.”

Food pairings are becoming popular among cider drinkers, so it’s important that marketing plans include information about which ciders pair best with which foods. Some consumers have expressed interested in cider cocktails, such as pairing cider with spirits or wine. Wholesale restaurant customers should also have information about suitable pairings so they can pass it along to cider-drinking patrons.

For cider makers who do have tasting rooms, there’s good news. Snyder says that customers are willing to devote significant time to travel to tasting rooms, and are willing to try what’s available. “The majority of customers are seeking a semi-sweet cider,” she said. “In the survey, preference for sweet or dry was split down the middle.”

Recent trends showed that beer drinkers have become interested in cider, but new trends show that wine drinkers are also becoming interested in cider. “Consumption among mature and affluent customers is expected to increase with innovation in the craft cider market,” said Snyder. “The more specifics about cider you can provide, the more interested customers will be.”

Another big trend is the use of social media for sharing information about cider. Snyder reminds cider makers that 28 percent of consumers are talking about cider on social media, but a large number of those consumers also indicated that they don’t know how to access ciders they’re interested in. They’re seeing cider makers online, they’re reading about them and are intrigued, but they need to know how to get the product. “Make sure to include information about how to get the cider you make,” said Snyder. “Where are your ciders on tap, or where can people go to purchase cider? Make sure you update that information regularly.”

– Article by Sally Colby, Wine & Craft Beverage News

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