After 8 years using the title of United States Association
of Cider Makers, or American Cider Association for short, the cider industry trade group has updated
its brand. On December 31, 2019, the group unveiled its shorter, more direct
name—The American Cider Association. It also released its new logo, created by
graphic designer Randi Karabin of SIP Publishing.
The American Cider Association says the new look and name go hand in hand with new aggressive strategies to grow the cider industry, including achieving legislative and regulatory goals on behalf of the association’s members.
“We’re doing so much more in DC than we were 4 years ago. We’re speaking up for common sense labeling regulations, lobbying for legislation to lower excise taxes, campaigning for the permitted use of harvest dates on cider labels over 7% ABV, pushing for 355ml as an approved volume of fill, supporting transparency on labels regarding state of origin for apples, and more,” executive director, Michelle McGrath detailed.\
“Cider is a grassroots industry, but it generates over a billion dollars in annual sales. We’re ready for the next evolution of our trade association,” she continued. “Cidermakers will always be our #1 audience, but Congress is rising in importance. Lobbying with our old name was challenging. People often found it confusing, and you lost them about halfway through. It was long! American Cider Association is much more straightforward.”
Last August, the Cider Association’s board members gathered
in DC to support the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act. That
experience illuminated the need to rebrand. With unanimous support from the
board, McGrath engaged diverse stakeholders to instruct the look and name.
“There are quite a few names and logos on the cutting room floor,” McGrath
said. “We embraced the best options for a professional trade association.”
Another goal is for the Cider Association to support more campaigns directed toward consumers and trade. “We will continue utilizing our Pick Cider® brand for those efforts,” she said.
“Our goals are designed to support the full diversity of producers in the industry,” said board member Eleanor Leger. “From the larger cideries that are raising cider’s visibility in the broader marketplace to the hundreds of small farm-based cideries showcasing unique apple varieties and cidermaking approaches.”
The American Cider Association’s assets will update to the new name and logo throughout the week, and a brand sheet is available on their website: www.ciderassociation.org.
The American Cider Association is an organization of cider and perry producers in the United States. Their mission is to grow a diverse and successful U.S. cider industry by providing valuable information, resources and services to our members and by advocating on their behalf.
Every year around this time, we review the trends, changes, growth and challenges our industry faced in the prior twelve months. It’s a time to learn and respond. As your association, we do this to understand how U.S. companies are faring and to identify ways we can support the cider industry and its diverse members in the year ahead. No doubt, 2019 was challenging, but there is plenty of reason for optimism as we enter 2020.
YEAR IN REVIEW Despite strong head winds from growth in adjacent categories, the cider industry held ground in 2019.
2017 was the year we saw explosive growth for regional cider brands. 2018 was defined by the rosé trend. 2019 was a year of resilience. If you look at how fast the flavored malt beverage sector grew this past year, it’s quite impressive that cider performed as it did.
Over a two-year view from Q3 2017 to Q3 2019, off premise cider sales grew 6%. The rosé success of 2018 was an anomaly, and the come down from the trend is minor noise in the big picture. The cider category marches upward–sustainably. Many in the media may try to focus on pockets of decline in the market, but the fact is the wins outnumber the losses. Regional brands continue to see double-digit growth for off-premise sales across all flavor categories except pear. Stories of growth, success and rebounds are also found within national brands.
THE FUTURE 2020 is forecast to continue the beverage trends of 2019. Threats to our market share right now are fueled by a consumer desire for a drink that is refreshing, healthful, and light. Those three characters describe cider to a T. Somewhere cider lost that as part of our messaging, so this is an opportunity to remind people that cider is just that, and even better, it’s made from apples.
To help kickstart this messaging in the new year, we are highlighting 0g residual sugar ciders in our outward social media messaging for the month of January. We’re calling it Dry Cider January and we will be promoting the hashtag #pickdrycider. Our goal is to gain the attention of health-oriented consumers. Do you make a 0g residual sugar cider? Please tell us so we can include it on our list.
We’re developing additional campaigns to promote the diversity of cider and its relevance throughout the year. Cider is not a seasonal beverage, and there are many styles to enjoy.
THE DETAILS We’re proud to offer complimentary detailed quarterly market reports to our active members in partnership with Nielsen. The flavor, format and subsector comparisons are helpful for conversations with wholesalers and buyers. But the value of these reports shouldn’t overshadow the half of the equation unilluminated by them. Direct to consumer sales and indie retailers are not found in these reports, leaving many brands and success stories out of the Nielsen data. Our annual membership survey will be deployed in January. Please take a dozen or so minutes to complete it when you see our request. Cider data is hard to come by, and we are taking serious efforts to continue growing what data and information is available about the industry. Our membership survey is an important part of that.
So, what are the details for cider’s growth in 2019? We don’t have Q4 data yet, but here is what we do know for off-premise sales measured by Nielsen for 52-week period ending on 11/30/19. Total cider sales declined -3.9% in the channels measured by Nielsen, led by declines in some of the leading national brands. But also:
- Regional brand off-premise sales grew 15%
- Regional brand off-premise market share of the cider category grew from 29.4% for 2018 to 34% as of 11/30/19. (Dollar share)
What else do we know? This year we saw cidery acquisitions after not seeing any for some time. We also know that online sales through the vendor VinoShipper increased 9% in 2019. These changes represent different sides of the cider spectrum and demonstrate how intricate the cider ecosystem truly is.
Share your growth story with us. We want to know how you measured success in 2019. There will be many opportunities to reflect on 2019’s trends in our Marketing & Trends track at CiderCon® 2020. Meet us there!
RELEVANT Today, gluten-free is a common lifestyle, and cider continues to benefit from it. But cider is not just gluten-free. It’s light, crisp, refreshing, often low in or sugar free, and versatile. Low-ABV is a growing trend, and cider serves to benefit from this trend both with low-ABV ciders and with low-ABV cider cocktails. Both beer drinkers and wine drinkers are looking for lighter in flavor, lighter in body choices and our diverse category is greeting these drinkers with welcome arms.
I was at a party last week where there was no alcohol. It was a very 2019 moment, as we know more and more people are drinking less. But much to my glee, we spent about half the party discussing cider—how much people loved it, where to drink it, and exploring styles. Most people explained to me that they discovered cider due to health choices. I regretted not bringing cider to that party!
My point is that cider meets the criteria of today’s health-oriented consumer. This fact should be in all of our talking points next year, no matter what style of cider we make.
ROAD AHEAD Cider maintained its gains in a year of challenges. With the projections that we’re seeing for flavored malt beverages in 2020, it will be harder to do so next year. In light of these pressures, increasing direct-to-consumer sales is good for category and company health. If you don’t already vend online, make that your New Year’s resolution and attend ‘Clicks & Cliques: Tactics for direct-to-consumer channels’ at CiderCon®.
It may be tempting to feel competitive with our peers in the industry right now. If we stick together, celebrate our differences and diversity, and work united to share a message of category versality, healthfulness and cider pairing beautifully with food, we will surprise ourselves and our doubters. Good things come from working together.
The board and I look forward to working with our members in 2020. Let’s do this thing called cider!
Modified image Liz West by courtesy of CC license.
Bottles cling-wrapped and insulated in a sweatshirt. Cans sealed and stowed in empty bread bags and stuffed in socks. Or shoes. Most of us have taken extreme risk and sketchy measures to get cider to and from CiderCon® and other cider events. Did you know there is a better way? Behold, the cider case (ok, it has another name, but this is what we’re calling it).
This case comfortably holds up to 8 bottles (750ml) of cider. Designed to accommodate clothes or other personal items by removing one or more inserts. Additional inserts for magnum available. We have direct reports that cans and smaller format ciders also pack well.
We love this case so much, we’re giving THREE of them away!How can you enter this giveaway contest? Each of these actions gets you tickets to win!
CIDER CASE GIVEAWAY RULES
>Register for CiderCon® 2020 by January 6 (the last day for early bird pricing, by the way!). (earns 3 tickets) CLICK HERE TO REGISTER
>Reserve your hotel room at the Oakland Marriott by January 6. (earns 2 tickets) CLICK HERE TO RESERVE YOUR ROOM
>Post to Instagram that you are excited to be attending CiderCon® and tag us in your post (@pickcider #cidercon2020) by January 6. (1 ticket per post)
>Tweet that you are excited to be attending CiderCon® and tag us in your tweet (@cidercon). (1 ticket per post) CLICK HERE TO TWEET
>Share any of our posts or tweets about CiderCon® (1 ticket per share).
>Tag a friend on one of our posts about CiderCon® (1 ticket per tag).
All entries must be completed by 12PM Pacific on January 6. CiderCon® registration and active association membership are the baseline requirement for winning. You are not eligible to win without meeting the baseline requirements by January 6.
If you’ve already registered, don’t sweat it–you’ll be automatically entered to win. Must be 21+ to participate.
We are actively recruiting individuals from US-based cider companies to run for the board of directors. These are volunteer positions with a three year commitment. Active membership of the association is required. Board seats up for election this year include:
Regional Chairs (4) (under 1M g/yr)
- Midwest (IA, IL, IN, MI, MN, MO, OH, WI, KY)
- Northwest (OR, WA, ID, MT, AK)
- Mountain West (AZ, CA, CO, NM, NV, UT, WY, SD, ND, KS, NE, OK, TX)
- Pacific Coast (CA, HI)
At Large (1)
- We are strongly encouraging producer-growers making less than 25,000 gal/year to run for this seat.
About 6 months ago, Jake Mann of Five Mile Orchard in California called me. He shared that what he loved most about CiderCon® hadn’t happened in a few years, and he wondered if it might be able to return? I didn’t need convincing. I missed it too, and this was a chance for American Cider Association to be responsive to member feedback (which we love). Jake raised his hand to help bring it back.
Jake and dedicated American Cider Association volunteer and cider expert, Darlene Hayes, have worked to bring you this year’s orcharding seminar: Orcharding in the West.
We decided to keep this seminar free for CiderCon® attendees, and there will be a scion exchange. RSVP for the workshop when you register for CiderCon®. Oh–and Jake’s orchard is featured on the Parajo Valley tour happening on January 28th!
Orcharding in the West
Wednesday, January 29th 8am – 12:30pm
Carbon Farming: Plans and Practicalities – Ryan Johnson, Consulting Team Lead for Landscape Analytic Solutions and Regen Wise
Cover Crops and the Western Orchard – Joanna Ory, Post-doctoral Fellow, U. C. Berkeley, Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management
Regulated Deficit Irrigation for Increasing Efficiency and Fruit Quality – Travis Alexander, Post-doctoral Research Associate, Washington State University, Mount Vernon NW Washington Research and Extension Center
Hardy Heirloom Apple Varieties from Gold-Rush Era Orchards – Amigo Bob Catisano, Founder, Felix Gillet Institute
A scion exchange will take place after the presentations. Please bring your own bag and labeling materials for collection, as well as scions from your favorite varieties.