UK sees reversal of cider's success story and beer's decline

Wednesday, 14 January, 2015


In Australia, beer sales are dropping while cider sales are skyrocketing. This trend has been reflected in the UK - but things are changing. Beer sales in the UK are predicted to rise for the first time in five years, while sales of cider have begun to drop, according to Mintel.

After five consecutive years of decline, with sales dropping by over 500 million litres between 2009 and 2013, Mintel predicted that overall volume sales of beer would rebound in 2014. Sales increased by 1.3% to an estimated 4.24 billion litres.

According to Chris Wisson, senior drinks analyst at Mintel, a warm summer and the football World Cup were just what the beer market needed. He says the slowing cider market and tax cuts bode well for beer in the UK.

While craft beer is on the rise, Mintel’s research shows that more than a third (36%) of consumers surveyed are unsure of what the term ‘craft beer’ actually means. However, they’re prepared to pay more for it: 34% of beer drinkers say they’ll pay more for craft beers, rising to 43% among 25- to 34-year-olds.

After several years of strong growth, cider sales are expected to fall by 0.8% to 949 million litres for 2014, down from 957 million litres in 2013. This is in stark contrast to the growth the category has experienced in previous years, with value sales rising by 10% in 2012 and 6% in 2013.

“Despite the significant recent growth of the cider category, volume sales are surprisingly estimated to dip slightly in 2014. Some of cider’s momentum appears to have been lost to a rejuvenated beer category, which is seeing strong growth from various segments such as craft and world/global beers,” Wisson said.

“Furthermore, whilst retail value sales of apple cider are expected to dip by 1% in 2014, pear is estimated to have plummeted by 29%. In contrast, fruit-flavoured ciders have soared, rising by just over a third in value.

“Fruit-flavoured cider benefits from being seen as a fashionable and innovative segment of the market, two attributes which have been key in driving growth by appealing to millennials in particular.”

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