From fine dining restaurants to your local sports pub, even a quick survey of America's beverage programs will show the growing presence of cider. And because the cider market segment is so versatile, it requires greater consideration than most areas of the bar.
To understand cider, or cidre, you first have to look at who's producing it. Cider usually comes from apples but can also be made from fruits like pears. It's bottled and marketed like beer, often as a gluten free alternative. It is also bottled and marketed like wine, particularly the French varieties.
The next step is to understand who's drinking it. Cider is gaining more and more popularity, similar to the cultish growth the rosé wine industry experienced five or six years ago. There are even special podcasts devoted specifically to cider and cider consumption trends, and what those trends say are important for food and beverage operators.
Studies from Nielsen show that, while the majority of cider sales are still driven by larger beer companies, the smaller, local craft cider producers are becoming more and more important.
While large producers still sell the majority of cider, sales volume has been on the decline since 2015. At the same time, craft cider producers have experienced growth since 2013, with 2016 numbers representing a 39 percent increase over 2015. And earlier this year, the craft segment cracked 20 percent of the overall share.
Why should restaurants and bars care about cider trends, especially craft cider?
Sticking with Nielsen's research, they showed that craft and locally made cider sells at "a significant premium price." In fact, this segment commands more than double the price of total beer sales.
For operations committed to providing cider, though, there come challenges. First of all, which type of cider do you want to serve? Cider is marketed and packaged like beer, and it's marketed and packaged like wine.
This leads to the question about equipment? How are you going to serve cider? Draft? Small volume bottles? Larger volume wine bottles?
When it comes to storing and serving ciders, there are a wide range of options a foodservice operation should consider. This leads to a consideration in the types of cider storage and dispensing equipment to use, as well.
Discover a range of cider storage and dispensing options in the Perlick Bar & Beverage Guide.