The hard cider revival is best documented by simply looking at sales figures for the product. However, research into the total number of cider labels approved by the federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) over the past 18 years shows the same story that sales figures do: A very recently energized cider market.
To investigate the pace of change in ciders coming to market since 1996, we used LabelVision by ShipCompliant, a tool that searches the TTB-approved applications for alcohol beverages labels. This powerful tool allowed us to discover all cider labels that had been approved from 1996 to 2013.
However, the TTB is only charged with regulating ciders that are 7% alcohol or greater. A majority of ciders come in at under 7% alcohol and are therefore regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. We did not look at ciders label approved by the FDA. Nevertheless, we are confident that the LabelVision search of the TTB database of approved cider labels provides us with an insightful picture of the recent dynamism of he cider marketplace.
What we found was more cider labels being approved by the TTB in the three years from 2011-2013 than in all the previous 15 years of cider labels approvals. Nothing like this kind of increase in new products can be found in the beer, wine or spirit categories.
Still, the amount of cider being consumed by Americans pales in contrast to the amount of beer, wine and spirits being consumed. Yet there is no question that the interest in America’s heritage beverage is growing at a swift rate and attracting the interests of more and more consumers, trade and media.