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Westons Cider has revealed wholesalers and retailers could be missing out on £11.8M of sales by failing to prioritise the country’s most popular crafted cider.
Worth £54.1M*, a bottle of Henry Westons Vintage is purchased every second. However, despite huge growth (16.6%) and almost total coverage in supermarkets, distribution in convenience and wholesaler remains far lower, at 76%.
“Henry Westons Vintage is one of our star-performers in retail and the second biggest cider SKU,” notes Holly Chadwick, brand manager for Henry Westons at Westons Cider. “Shoppers are buying into the brand in huge numbers and Henry Westons is more popular than ever.
“Last year we saw the total cider category struggle to match the exceptional sales performance of 2020. But the Henry Westons brand bucked that trend, adding more than £10M value in 2021 alone and posting year-on-year sales up 20.6%, ensuring crafted cider was one of the only cider subcategories in growth. The total Henry Westons brand family is now worth an incredible £70M.
The opportunity for Henry Westons reflects the broader opportunity for crafted ciders in convenience which, despite their continued popularity, currently under index in the channel (representing 13.6% of the channel’s value sales compared with 16.4% in the total market). Overall, crafted cider sits at 87% distribution in convenience, compared with 97% across total grocery.
Westons also recently revealed the seventh edition of its Westons’ annual Cider Report , which revealed that 2021 marked a 6.8% increase on pre-pandemic cider sales, following a record 2020.
The findings show that apple cider attracted the highest spend, with average shopper spending £81.30 per year in 2021, increasing its share by 2.1% YOY to claim 62.5% of all off-trade sales
It also pointed to a long-term trend towards premiumisation, as even more cider drinkers adopt a ‘drink less, but better’ mentality.
“While it was always going to be a challenge to lap a, quite frankly, unmaintainable boom in cider sales during 2020, in 2021, the category showed clear signs of promise,” says Darryl Hinksman, head of business development at Westons Cider.
“The exceptional circumstances of 2020 rocked the boat– with off-trade sales achieving unprecedented growth and reaching record heights. Now that the dust is beginning to settle, cider sales are steadying once more – and household penetration, frequency and volume are up compared with 2019.
“Traditional apple ciders continue to drive trade-up among shoppers seeking high quality serves. Representing a higher value sales opportunity, apple ciders should be every retailer’s priority when it comes to ensuring their cider fixture turns profit year-round,” added Tim Williams, insight and innovation manager at Westons Cider.
As well as highlighting distribution and sales gains for crafted cider, cloudy, and no and low alcohol, Westons’ latest report reveals:
– Almost half (45.4%) of UK households buy cider, whilst the average household makes 11.8 shopping trips a year for cider.
– The top ten crafted brands represent 82% of crafted category value. Within this, Henry Westons Vintage has seen the highest YOY growth at +20.6%. Comparatively, rosé and cloudy lemon have seen double digit declines compared to last year, with the latter a reflection of the shift towards apple.
– Online sales continue to grow, and now account for 10% of all off-trade cider sales.
– 10 packs are the format proving most popular – Despite all formats suffering a YOY decline, 10-packs have held up best at -8.6%, performing ahead of the total market. This has led to an increase from 18% to 19% of cider market value in 2021. The Stowford Press 10-pack performed particularly strongly, up 131% YOY.
TRENDS SHAPING THE INDUSTRY
– Premiumisation continues to be a driving force for growth in the category, with the average price per litre holding steady at £2.31 (up £0.06 on 2019). Although consumers are feeling the financial pinch, they’re still opting for premium and craft propositions which offer high quality and great taste.
– Booming crafted and premium apple categories have gained market share in both channels and, in the off-trade, crafted has been the only category to reach double-digit growth (+51.4% vs 2YA).
– The slowing down of fruit cider has been seen in recent years. Expected to stabilise at one third of volume share for the category, fruit cider represents little opportunity for growth.
– Cider’s southern bias persists, with the five most southern television regions making up 62.4% of volume cider sold. This is even higher for crafted cider, with 76% of volume coming from the south.
The full report – including impartial stocking advice for retailers of all shapes and sizes across the off-trade – is available for digital download here.
 IRI 12 weeks to 1 Jan 22. Opportunity in convenience multiples £2.2M, symbols £5.5M, independents £4.1M
*=Single bottle 8.2% abv vintage
 Westons Cider Report 2022
 IRI 52 w/e 29th January 2022
By: Paul Hill