Craft cideries should study what factors impact cider consumer buying behavior, as the expanding market for craft ciders offers opportunity for growth. An experienced craft beer marketing agency can help individual cideries differentiate their market from the craft beer market, as well as other craft market segments, like those for spirits and wine.
Cider consumer buying behavior is clearly changing: consumption is increasing in the U.S. — up 11% in 2020 — and is predicted to grow at a 10.1% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) through 2026, according to a market summary released by The Food Institute in August 2021. Beverage Daily reports that cider appeals to a young, gender-balanced demographic. Gen Z (those born after 1996) began to reach legal alcohol consumption age in 2017. This group of consumers prefers healthier choices including beverages with lower alcohol by volume (ABV). Dry ciders contain low levels of sugar and carbs, and this appeals to a health-conscious market.
Flavor and Food Pairings
Cider has moved beyond apples, to include pears, and flavors such as pineapple, cranberry, honeydew, and blackberry. Consumers will still be conscious of sugar and carbohydrate content, so dry ciders may have stronger appeal.
People in their 20’s are consuming less alcohol overall, and when they go out, they’re more likely to make eating, rather than just drinking, part of the experience. Cideries that can provide food pairing suggestions may benefit.
Traceability, Purity, Methodology
In keeping with their preference for more healthful beverage choices, cider consumers like to feel connected with the product’s origins. They want to know details about the orchard or farm that grew the fruit, and the cidery that turned the fruit into cider. Methods of production, including those that create non-carbonated and unpasteurized products, draw interest from cider consumers, according to Market Research Future.
Craft cider is perceived as a premium product, and a study published in the International Journal of Wine Business Research, Volume 33, Issue 3 (summarized by Emerald.com) determined that cider consumers were willing to pay a premium for locally produced cider. Factors in the decision included sweetness vs. dryness, lack of preservatives, shopping venues, urbanization, local foods preferences, and purchases of other alcoholic beverages.
Steps to Take Now
The factors impact cider consumer buying behavior arise within the broader context of consumer behavior generally. Psychological factors (motivation, beliefs, etc.), social and cultural factors (religion, social status, family, friends, etc.), and economic and personal attributes (age, income, lifestyle) form the larger framework around cider drinkers’ purchasing decisions.
However, craft cideries can take steps to address recent developments in consumer behavior by:
- Recommending food pairings
- Expanding available flavor profiles
- Ensuring the brand includes dry cider options
- Highlighting source and production
- Emphasizing the premium nature of small batch, locally produced ciders
Cideries that pay attention to consumer behavior should expect continued robust growth in consumer demand.