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Cider & Craft Beer: More fruit, less alcohol


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Cider, flavoured cider as well as beer and beer mix beverages meet the need for low alcohol, regionality, sustainability and variety in taste. These are currently one of the most dynamic segments in the beverage sector. Even in traditional markets such as France or Germany, innovative products are increasingly be found - but the main drivers are the USA, Great Britain and Scandinavia.


While the consumption of alcoholic beverages tends to decrease worldwide, the popularity of light, alcoholic beverages and their non-alcoholic alternatives is increasing. The main reason: people pay more attention to their health, but don´t want to do without the taste of their preferred alcoholic beverage.

Low alcohol and new flavours refresh the market

At the same time, the desire for new, innovative flavours is also spreading in the alcoholic beverage segment. This is one of the reasons why the small producers of craft beer and cider are now really stirring up the market. The success factor of these products is the combination of a low alcohol content with a refreshing sensor system through carbonation and the variety of taste impressions.

While craft beer has experienced a real boom as a niche product in the past two decades, experts are now seeing a normalization of growth: Craft beer should now further advance the beer market and keep sales at a high level. The competition should become more diverse, and micro-breweries in particular will continue to be an integral part of the market in the future. Last year, craft beer breweries gained with their product portfolios from fruity to spicy in the United States around 4.34 billion US dollars with growth of 2.8 percent compared to 2018.

Source: https://www.bevindustry.com/articles/92844-2020-beer-report-maturation-brings-new-competitive-landscape-for-craft-beer-market

Craft beer breweries and craft cider houses

It is hardly surprising that so-called craft cider houses have been established in parallel to the craft beer breweries in the USA, which - like the craft beer breweries - are quite keen to experiment with their products. They now complement the large breweries and producers and score with quality, sustainability and a large portion of creativity and innovation.

Because of its fruity taste and its low alcohol content of 0-5% vol., the cider, which is made from apples meets the new needs of consumers, just like light beer and fruit seccos. In the U.S., cider has seen record growth over other alcoholic beverage segments, as Beverage Daily reports: In 2018, cider growth was 8.4 percent, while other categories in the alcohol segment tended to accept a decline. The fruity cider is particularly popular with millennials - and women as well as men, now. The global cider market has grown tremendously over the past ten years: it has grown tenfold in this period!

Sources: https://www.beveragedaily.com/Article/2019/02/15/Cider-succeeds-with-men-women-and-millennials-but-faces-retention-challenge
https://www.beveragedaily.com/Article/2020/02/07/US-consumers-shop-local-for-cider-as-regional-brands-grab-40-market-shareNeuer Call-to-ActionThe fruity apple wine with and without flavours is also increasingly in demand in Europe: 82 percent of UK consumers say they drink cider because they like to experiment with new tastes. 75 percent would like to be able to try a selection of different ciders in pubs and bars, 65 percent would like to drink cocktails with cider.

Source: Lightspeed / Mintel

Beer and cider: more fruity than ever!

Innovative flavours can arouse consumer interest and encourage them to try new brands and offers: straight from the shelves, they can animate consumers with their outstanding taste and encourage them to buy. The experts at Mintel call this trend "Sense of the Intense": people are looking for visceral, intense experiences that stimulate their senses. The traditionally popular beer and the fruity-light cider in new, fruity, peppy notes come just in time!

Source: A year of Innovation in Beer and Cider, 2020, Mintel

Scandinavia has always played a pioneering role in establishing new tastes - but other countries have also jumped on this trend in recent years. The top flavours of the cider launches in Europe from 2015 to 2020 were lime, strawberry, raspberry, elderflower, apple, blackberry, red berries as well as a fruit mix and a berry mix. The top 10 new, fruity beer mixes in Europe in 2015 and 2020 were lemon, lemonade, lime, grapefruit, apple, orange, ginger and raspberry.

Cider & beer: Sustainability is key

In addition to the innovative flavours, the issue of sustainability in beer and cider from smaller production facilities is also of particular importance: 71 percent of UK consumers say that it is important for beer labels to produce in an environmentally friendly manner. Brands that actively promote their sustainability are more influential on the market, reports Mintel.

Sources: “A year of innovation in Beer and Cider”, 2020, Mikolaj Kaczorowski, Mintel
Alcoholic Drinking Occasions, US, September, 2019, Mintel

Regionality is an important pillar of sustainable production, and this is a special selling point for craft beer and cider: In the USA, regional cider brands were able to secure 40 percent of the market share.

Source: https://www.beveragedaily.com/Article/2020/02/07/US-consumers-shop-local-for-cider-as-regional-brands-grab-40-market-share

New creation: alcohol-free "beer" from hops and tea

Alcohol-free beer variants are also on the upswing, in which the product creations are becoming more innovative: For example, a US company has developed a sparkling "hop tea" in which hops are added to tea beverages. There is no fermentation and no sugar or additives are added. This is hardly surprising, since tea is now increasingly becoming a counterpart in the alcoholic beverage segment: Driven by the Hard Seltzer trend, "hard teas" - teas blended with alcohol - have come onto the market in recent years.
Source: https://www.beveragedaily.com/Article/2020/01/30/HopTea-craft-brews-non-alcoholic-tea-like-a-beer

Cider in many flavours

The trend for ciders is also towards more health benefits: 69 percent of UK consumers say they welcome a healthier version of their favourite ciders. 47 percent of consumers believe that a premium quality cider with little alcohol is a better choice than a soft drink when it comes to reducing sugar or alcohol. 45 percent say that the selection of low-sugar and low-alcohol ciders is still too small. So there is even more potential here.

Source: Lightspeed / Mintel


Traditional beer has a new look: Fruity notes and less to non alcoholic content are increasingly attracting consumers today. This is driven by increasing health awareness, which is causing most people to reduce their alcohol consumption while not wanting to give up the taste of their favourite drinks. The fruity cider scores with diverse flavours and leads to success, especially from regional production.

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Gerd Diefenthäler

Gerd DiefenthälerAuthor

Market Intelligence & Innovation Manager


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