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Drinks

Kiwis drinking more cider, but less beer

By Ankush Chibber , 23-Nov-2012

Cider is the rising star of New Zealand’s alcoholic beverages market even as consumption of beer in the country is showing a steady decline, said a top official from Lion, the Australasian food and beverage major.

Brendan Lawry, the company’s sales director, told FoodNavigator-Asia that cider is seeing double-digit growth among Kiwi consumers. “We are seeing almost 40% growth for cider sales in the New Zealand market.”

The growth of cider is due to a variety of reasons, the main one being its taste profile.

“Cider has been around a long while but we are seeing more vibrancy towards it in the recent past. I think people are able to take to it before beer, as it is not as sour, and then experiment with it. Most people are sticking on to the taste,” he said.

Cider has also been able to bridge the gender gap in New Zealand and is no more being marked out as a drink for women. 

“A lot of the cider products in the Kiwi market are very male-centric and male-targeted,” he said, pointing out that even Lion makes and markets a cider product under the Speight range—traditionally a male-targeted range that includes a number of beers. 

In all, Lion produces and markets three cider products in New Zealand and Lawry remarked that Lion is controlling about half of the market—which is currently at about 7 to 9m litres per year, and is expected to touch 10 to 12m litres by the end of 2013. 

The growth of cider is however being offset by the decline in consumption of regular beer for Kiwi beverage manufacturers, Lawry revealed. 

“Everyday beer has been in regular decline for a number of years. The overall beer segment in New Zealand is shrinking by about 25% year-on-year,” he said, pointing out, however, that it is still the larger market at about 280m litres a year.

Craft beer is the one product segment within the large beer market that is seeing steady growth in New Zealand. “But the market is too small right now. It is generating a lot of noise but there is still some time for the market to mature.”