A growing preference for “pricier, artisan” ciders is turning Britain into a nation of cider snobs, according the National Association of Cider Makers (NACM).
Brits are increasingly seeking out more expensive, craft ciders with sales of “top tier premium cider”, which make up the top 7% of the UK cider market by price, reaching £75 million in June alone this year – an increase of £10 million compared to the same period in 2013.
The figures, according to the NACM, highlight an increasing trend not for drinking greater volumes of cider, but for drinking more expensive, better quality cider, despite the price of premium and artisan ciders rising by 5% in the last twelve months.
While total sales of cider in the UK reached £400 million in the last year, an increase of £43 million compared to the same period in 2013.
Paul Bartlett, chair of the NACM, said: “For a number of years, cider has been the star performer and what is clear is that people are seeking out excellent drinks – both good quality mainstream ciders and really premium products often enjoyed with food.
“It is quite an achievement for the sector when you consider that we have just come through a period of economic difficulty. It proves that, even when times are tough, cider drinkers are prepared to pay more for a high quality product that they really enjoy.”
Since 2001, UK supermarket Tesco has increased its cider range by 60%, tripling the its premium cider category to keep up with demand.
Olivia Christou, cider buyer at Tesco, said: “It is a very exciting time for the cider category as a whole. There are increasing numbers of ciders available and there is continued growth in the number of people drinking cider.
“The real growth for us over the last couple of years has been seen in the fruit cider section of the category, especially the more premium fruit ciders.”
She added that beer is not the only category to have benefitted from the “craft” boom, with cider also capitalising on consumers’ increasing preference for craft labels.
She said: “We are seeing more interest from customers in the heritage of the brands they are buying and the care and expertise that is put into the production of the cider.
“Craft cider has its own destination in the cider fixture, further highlighting the rising popularity and growth of this style of cider.”