Auckland-based DB is the market leader in the category with a 46 percent share locally and burgeoning exports, and Routley said cider was one of New Zealand’s fastest growing categories with a 25 percent compound annual growth rate.
Cider has been around for centuries but started booming in the UK in 2008 alongside the popularity of craft beer and has been growing in New Zealand since 2009.
In the UK, cider now accounts for about 20 percent of the beer market, Routley has said, so there was room to grow the category in New Zealand, potentially doubling in the next four to five years.
“After that I don’t know. I have to be cautious because you could keep investing a lot in stainless steel plant to make it and find that growth is not sustainable. You also have to back yourself for success as well because if you don’t, you won’t stay at 46 percent market share and the dominant player in the market,” he said.
The leading brand in New Zealand is DB’s Rekorderlig which it makes under licence to Aslo in Sweden. DB gained Rekorderlig when it bought a majority shareholding in Nelson cider and fruit wine maker Redwood Cellars in 2009. They set up the joint venture, Redwood Cider Company, incorporating their brands, Old Mout and Monteith’s and launched the new brand Orchard Thieves late last year.
DB said the skew among its cider drinkers is 65 percent female/35 percent male, and part of cider’s growth has been because it appeals to a wide range of drinkers as an alternative to their normal tipple.
But Routley said one of DB’s big challenges to achieve its forecast growth for cider, which delivers a higher profit margin than beer, was finding clever ways to bring more men into the mix.