Cider Sales See Big Decline in Growth in 2015

2015CiderSalesIn 2015 Cider sales in the United States grew by 10.8% over 2014 to a total of $523,593,305 according to Nielsen, which tracks off-premise (retail, not restaurant) sales of alcoholic beverages. This 10.8% growth rate reflects a significant slowing in the growth of the cider sector from 2014 when growth in cider sales increased by 71%.

Perhaps even more important is Nielsen’s report that for the last 13 weeks of 2015 cider sales decreased by 4.6% over the same 13 week period in 2014.

Nielsen’s detailed tracking numbers concentrate in large part on supermarket and drugstores sales. As a result their studies reflect sales of the popular commercial brands such as Angry Orchard, Woodchuck and Johnny Appleseed, all of which have reported significantly declining sales in the later part of 2015.

What is not necessarily reflected in these numbers is the growth for craft cider and regional cider brands. The problem is that no organization nor any association of cider producers is tracking this sector of the market the way craft beer sales are tracked by the Brewers Association, the trade organization representing craft brewers across the country.

Anecdotal evidence, news reports and The Cider Journal’s discussion with various craft cider producers suggest strongly that craft cider sales remain on a much healthier growth curve than the numbers reported by Nielsen. However, without hard numbers it’s difficult for the craft cider industry to get a handle on where the market for craft cider is heading, an important fact needed for forecasting growth as well as when considering investments.

The United States Association of Cider Makers is the trade organization that represents numerous craft cideries across the country and is the likely candidate for tracking cider sales in the country. While it’s unlikely that the USACM could track all sales in the U.S., an important project would be for them to track the sales of a representative number of cideries across different regions to estimate growth rates of the craft-end of the cider market.


13 Responses to “Cider Sales See Big Decline in Growth in 2015”

  1. Jeffrey House

    ACE Ciders had another 30 per cent growth in 2015 and the same is expected this year. Craft ciders are doing well. Angry Orchard could not maintain 70 per cent growth off such a large base 250 million. Woodchuck and Johnny Appleseed are dying brands…

    • cervantes

      Hello Jeff. We are starting a cidery and are extremely interested in how we can ind out more on the analytics of cider growth/decline. I found your comment to be very interesting.

  2. Alan Yelvington

    Drinkers want ciders that complement their food, not alcho-pop sugar with Jolly Rancher on top. Maybe I’m being harsh, but the youth crowd grows up pretty fast.

  3. Julius

    The tendency towards sweetness in US ciders of today is why cider in the US is not taken seriously. The bulk volume producers of cider today are equivalent to the wine coolers and white zinfandels of the past. The artisan cider producers are heading in the right direction in producing hard cider of depth and complexity, and these efforts are what will put this genre solidly and permanently on the beverage map. It is not about simple volume growth, but growth in quality production.

  4. Tom Wark

    I agree with you. But I would also point out that in the world of wine, a very big percentage of wine drinkers drink sweet. The fastest moving category in wine is “Red Blends” and those red blends, while packaged like wine, look like wine and smell like wine, in fact are far from dry.

    That said, I use the volume numbers to assess the interest in “cider” in general. I agree with you that as long as the serious craft producers stay on their game a percentage of the sweet cider drinkers will find them.


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