LONDON: Sales of cider in the UK have topped the £1 billion mark for the first time since 2014, according to data from Nielsen. Cider sales rose by 5.5% year-on-year to just over £1 billion during the 12 months ending 15 July, however, sales between May and July alone increased by 16%. “This is extremely welcome news for cider manufacturers after what’s been a sustained period of struggle,” said Helen Stares, a Nielsen expert on the liquor industry. “However, it also highlights how highly dependent the cider industry is on good weather – essentially it’s been brought back into growth off the back of some near record-breaking temperatures. “Cider is arguably the most reliant alcohol on good weather in terms of consumer behaviour. Its key to long term and sustainable growth is making itself more attractive to people outside of the BBQ season, as indicated by our preliminary data showing sales dropped off quite notably once the weather worsened from late July.” Cider brands experiencing particularly strong growth across the year included Thatchers (+44%), Kopparberg (+21%) and Rekorderlig (+17%). Strongbow remains the biggest in the sector, with 28% market share. Cider was not the only beverage to benefit from the warm weather in the UK, with sales of beer increasing by 9% between May and July, compared to the same period last year.
Overall, the category has grown by 5% annually to £3.9 billion. “Beer’s improved performance is particularly impressive considering the comparison is against a summer that included football’s second biggest international tournament, the European Championships,” said Stares. “Even against that comparison, over half a million households bought beer in the early summer of 2017 that didn’t in the equivalent period in 2016. Alongside new customers, sales revenues are up due to a combination of higher prices and shoppers trading up to more premium brands.” Many brands saw strong growth across the year, including Corona and Coors Light (both +25%), Budweiser (+18%) and Peroni (+15%), while Stella Artois remains the biggest in the sector with 12.5% market share.