Summer boosts Cider in Ireland as drinkers chase brands and value

Suppliers and operators in Ireland’s On Premise have a great chance to grow cider sales on the back of a strong summer—but only if they understand consumers’ demands in this category.

CGA by Nielsen IQ’s On Premise Measurement service shows cider sales totalled €216m in the 12 months to the end of July, making it the third largest Long Alcoholic Drinks (LAD) category in Ireland.

 

While many LAD consumers in Ireland have chosen stout since the end of COVID-19 restrictions, cider has lost only 0.6 percentage points of market share to it over the last three years. This makes it more resilient than either lager or ale, which have seen 2.0 and 1.4 percentage points of their sales slip away to stout.

 

Cider’s robustness was clear over the summer, when warm weather usually helps brands to attract more drinkers. The category has taken a 9.8% share of the LAD market in the last 12 months, but this split rose to 11.2% over the last three months.

 

As the temperatures drop, the big challenge for suppliers and operators is to work out how to retain these additional cider drinkers—and doing so demands an appreciation of how and where they are engaging with the category. For example, CGA data shows a strong preference for bottled and canned cider, with nearly two thirds (65.7%) of cider sales coming from packaged serves and just a third (34.3%) from draught—a much lower share than in other LAD categories. The OPM research also indicates that bars overtook pubs in market share terms over the last quarter, and that Cork—where cider took 14.1% of all LAD sales between May and July—is a hotspot for the category.

 

CGA’s On Premise User Survey (OPUS) meanwhile reveals the big motivations of cider drinkers, and the high importance of branding in particular. Two in five (39%) consumers say they always choose their favourite brand when they drink cider, while other top factors include value for money (31%) and quality (29%). Cider drinkers also tend to be loyal, with nearly half (45%) of them buying it every or almost every time they visit a pub or bar.

 

“While cider always comes to the fore over the summer, there’s untapped potential for suppliers and operators to build on the momentum over the autumn,” says Darren Bradley, senior client manager for Ireland at CGA by Nielsen IQ. “With smart brand positioning and focused promotional strategies, especially in the bottled and canned segments, cider can keep its fair-weather drinkers all year round. As the cost of living crisis mounts, it will be particularly important to emphasise value as well as quality.”

 

CGA by NielsenIQ’s unique fusion of sales, outlet and consumer research helps suppliers and operators identify sales opportunities and construct winning strategies across cider and other drinks categories in Ireland’s On Premise. To learn more, email Sian Brennan at sian.brennan@cgastrategy.com.

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