Cider Corner: Can Your Brand ‘Play Both Sides?’ to Success

Creating a product with alcohol in it more recently has become difficult in some situations and cideries are looking to lean into that trend with digging into NA along with the “better for you” options. It’s just one aspect of many that cideries this year have begun to plan for.

“The non-alcoholic trend seems to be transcending beer, wine, cider, alternative beverages and can’t be ignored,” said Flat Rock Cider’s Production Manager Jeremiah Tracy. “Oddly the two major trends we see are quite opposite, imperial strength ciders and low or no alcohol cider.

“We are looking to test the waters with some small batch offerings in this low ABV segment this year.”

For Lost Boy, founder Tristan Wright explained to Brewer that they plan to diversify offerings going forward.

“(We want to) introduce a line of non-alcoholic ciders, ensuring we cater to this growing segment without compromising on quality and taste,” Wright said.

Guy Wallis of Albemarle Ciderworks said some trends that they are looking to combat is the perception that cider is exclusively a seasonal (ie. Fall) product.

Creating that sales channel beyond when the leaves turn is a key to building a solid year-round repertoire.

“That is when consumers are thinking of apples,” Wallis said. “Another challenge is reminding our public that cider is a fruit wine, or as a friend remarked ‘wine is really cider made from grapes.’

“Bringing an inspired and inventive outlook to our product, while still being true to its origins, is a goal we strive for in 2024.”

There’s a noticeable shift towards artisanal and craft beverages, Wright pointed out and that can aligns perfectly with a cidery’s product line.

“Thankfully it seems more consumers are coming around to drier ciders than in years past,” Tracy said. “I think more people are concerned about sugar and calorie contents or maybe just a bit burnt out on the sweet fruity drinks.”  

Consumers are increasingly valuing sustainability, Wright said. 

“It’s prompting us to deepen our commitment to local sourcing and eco-friendly practices,” he said about plans this year for the cidery.

Dan Lawrence said that Stone Circle Cider continues to see additional farmhouse cider brands enter the market. 

“Whereas urban and more commercial brands have had to navigate competition from the hard seltzer and other flavored beverage categories, farmhouse cider brands seem to continue to slowly and steadily gain ground,” Lawrence said.

Having that local aspect can help boost community connection and creating opportunities to bring in different crowds.

Wallis said plans this year for Albemarle are aimed at improving its marketing to attract more traffic to our tasting room in order to expand awareness and appreciation of “proper cider.” 

“To this end, we are expanding the events and entertainment options we offer such as monthly movie nights, various workshops and private events,” he said.

Photo courtesy Lost Boy Cider

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