Beer and cider return BWS market to volume growth

04 April, 2014

A strong performance from beer and cider has seen the off-trade BWS market return to volume and value growth, according to new IRI data.

The market grew 3.7% in value to £14.5 billion and rose 0.9% in volume in the year to March 1, according to the research firm.

Beer and cider was up 2.5% in volume and 4.5% in value to £4.8 billion, with premium products such as world beer, craft beer, fruit cider and traditional ciders like Westons and Aspall driving growth.

Wine rose 2.2% in value to £5.5 billion but was down 2.7% in volume. Spirits grew 4.6% in value to £3.7 billion but volumes were flat, and RTDs lost both value and volume.

IRI analyst Steve Jones said: “The BWS market is worth £38 billion and £14.5 billion is off- trade, but year-on-year growth is coming from the off-trade, which is stealing market share.

“Beer and cider is significantly outperforming other categories.” World and speciality lager shot

up 18.6% in volume and 21.3% in value. All other lager was up 0.1% in volume and 1% in value.

Premium bottled ale sales rose 5.9% in volume and 9% in value. All other ale was down 3% in volume and up 0.2% in value.

What IRI defines as traditional premium cider – brands such as Westons, Merrydown and Thatchers – grew 8.2% in volume and 13.6% in value.

Westons was the star performer, up 26%, while Aspall grew 9%. Own-label cider was also up 20%.

The average multiple grocery now stocks 19 lines of cider, up from 17 a year ago. Fruit cider sales have more than doubled in the past two years, from £82 million to £217 million.

Kopparberg and Rekorderlig remain crucial to the category’s success, with Kopparberg’s fruit flavours worth £74 million and Rekorderlig’s at £30 million.

But Heineken is now the number one in fruit flavours thanks to successful NPD. Its Strongbow Dark Fruit enjoyed £30 million worth of sales in its first year, making it the second most successful FMCG launch of 2013 after Cadbury’s Creations, while Bulmers fruit flavours are worth £56 million.

Apple still retains the lion’s share of the cider market, accounting for 66% of sales, but that is down from 72% a year ago, while fruit cider has grown from 13% to 20% of the category. Pear is falling rapidly: it now accounts for just 14% of the category, with sales down 3.2% in volume and 2.9% in value.

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