One of our 10 Things You Need To Know About… Beer & Cider

It’s been a sour year for Stella Cidre. The AB InBev brand saw £23m wiped off sales thanks to significant delistings across the mults [IRI 52 w/e 13 August 2016].

Cidre was credited with driving cider’s explosive growth in recent years, after its launch in 2011, and inspiring a slew of copycats from rival lager makers such as Carlsberg, Somersby and Carling Cidre. Now sales have plunged 40.4% to £33.9m on volumes down 42.6%.

Struggling to compete with flavoured cider brands riding the craft and premium wave sweeping the alcohol category, such as Kopparbarg and Rekorderlig, Stella Cidre saw a third of its fruit-flavoured SKUs - 13 out of 39 - delisted across Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Morrisons and Asda [BrandView]. Asda, which stocked the largest range of Cidre, implemented the biggest cull.

Asda’s move followed a miserable time for Stella Cidre, which posted a 0.3% value decline in 2014 followed by a 6.6% drop the following year [Nielsen]. “We recently reduced our Stella Cidre range following a continuing shift to more premium world ciders,” says an Asda spokeswoman.

AB InBev is turning its focus to the apple variant as it looks to “lead the premiumisation of the premium apple cider sector”, while supporting this with its fruit variants.

“We now have a smaller, but more premium Cidre range including occasion-based packs such as the new slim can, available in Tesco,” says Stella Artois senior brand manager Ally Atha. ”We plan to focus on growing distribution of these key formats in 2017 across the on and off-trade and lead the modern apple segment back into good health.”

The 4.6% abv Belgium-brewed brand, credited with being the first leading lager brand to cross the category divide, isn’t the only cider produced by a large lager brand suffering: sales of Bulmers from Heineken were down 14.2% on volumes down 10% in the same window [IRI].

But what sets Stella Cidre apart is a significant 27% decline in average price across the brand’s available SKUs - suggesting heavy promotional activity [BrandView]. This compares with a 6% price decrease throughout the overall cider category.

Previous article: Revealed: Nearly half of Brits are cutting back on the booze

Next article: Craft and class: Who shuns mass-produced beer?