Stateways Sept-Oct 2014

StateWays is the only magazine exclusively covering the control state system within the beverage alcohol industry, with annual updates from liquor control commissions and alcohol control boards and yearly fiscal reporting from control jurisdictions

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45 StateWays Q Q September/October 2014 taste profi les of new drinkers, cider makers hope they're planting the seeds for market growth for decades to come. "The legal-drinking-age millennial is eager to ex- periment with new fl avors, and they expect choice," says Royce Carvalho, brand manager of the MillerCoors canned cider, Smith & Forge, which is marketing itself as the cider of choice for young males. The company also markets Crispin Hard Cider. It isn't just young adults who are buoying cider's pros- pects these days. Americans are more conscious about health and food-and-beverage sourcing than ever before. Hard ciders can sell themselves as lower in calories than beers, gluten-free, and "all-natural." "Millennials make a connection to the apple," says Dan Rowell, CEO and president of Vermont Cider, maker of Woodchuck Cider, and treasurer of the United State As- sociation of Cider Makers. And signifi cantly, the hard cider consumer profi le is nearly a 50-50 split among men and women, producers point out. Big Brewers in the Game The big boys of the brewing industry have noticed America's renewed love affair with cider. In 2012, Miller- Coors acquired Crispin Ciders. This spring, Heineken's Strongbow brought two new fl avors, Honey & Apple and Gold Apple, to market. And the normally cautious InBev similarly added Johnny Appleseed cider to its lineup in early April, offering an unusually stark alternative to its al- ready successful Michelob Ultra Light Cider. InBev's bol- stering its new entry's chances with a "signifi cant" media buy on television programming meant to strengthen the Johnny Appleseed's identity as what Aguilera described as a "100% co-ed brand." Observers have dubbed the brand an Angry Orchard killer, designed specifi cally to steal market share from today's No. 1 hard cider. "Right now, we're all over entertainment cable, and also on late-night TV shows like Jimmy Fallon, we're on Colbert Report and the Daily Show," Aguilera says. "We decided to make a big investment no this, and we don't take brand launches lightly — it's been eight years since we've launched a new brand, and we want consumers, wholesalers and retailers to know they can be confi dent we're a brand that's here to stay." Just as you notice when the biggest kid in summer camp climbs into your once-light canoe, InBev and MillerCoors's interest in the cider market has forced ad- justments from those who've been slinging apple juice for years. Right now, Boston Beer Co.'s Angry Orchard sits on top of the heap, far above everyone else, com- manding more than one-third of the market, according to Beverage Information Group research — in fact, its sales are more than twice as much as the second place entry, veteran hard cider producer Woodchuck. MillerCoors's Crispin nabbed the No. 3 spot after boasting a stunning 71.1% increase in 2012-2013. Heineken's Strongbow fol- lowed at No. 4, while Irish-based C&C's longtime cider stalwarts, Hornsby's and Magners, which both saw mod- est growth, hung on at No. 5 and No. 6. InBev's Michelob Ultra Light Cider, meanwhile, saw a 63% climb to No. 7. For Vermont, the big guys' meteoric rise has meant familiar ciders like Woodchuck have had to concentrate on keeping their feet fi rmly on the ground — at least for now, Rowell says. Boston Beer's line of Angry Orchard hard ciders have quickly be- come the top- selling brand in the U.S. Anheuser-Busch InBev has had initial success with Michelob Ultra Light Hard Cider and has followed that up with the re- cent launch of Johnny Apple- seed Hard Cider. MillerCoors boasts the third-best-sell- ing hard cider in Crispin. The company also recently debuted another, higher- proof hard cider brand, Smith & Forge, with a serious marketing push.

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