The total share of the alcohol market held by cider grew by 13.8%, to reach 6.6% of sales in Ireland during the period.
Like beer, the cider category benefitted greatly from the full reopening of domestic hospitality, as a much higher proportion of its sales rely on the on-trade channel, compared to other categories, like spirits and wine.
Drinks Ireland | Cider highlighted that these markers of growth, though promising, have yet to fully recover to pre-pandemic levels, as the sale increase remains 12% below pre-pandemic levels and the share of the market was 7.4% in 2019.
The report also notes that there is a growing trend of premiumisation in the cider market, presenting an opportunity for the craft cider sector.
A recent report on the craft cider market by Bord Bia, in collaboration with Drinks Ireland, highlights the growing craft cider category, which offers consumers an array of choices and exciting innovations.
Speaking about the report, Cormac Healy, director of Drinks Ireland, said, “Growth in the craft cider category brings great choice for consumers and exciting innovations.
“Apart from seeking a reduction in overall excise rates in alcohol, which are the second highest in Europe, we believe that the craft cider sector would benefit from some modest extensions of the excise relief.
“The small craft cider producers play a pivotal role in the category, contributing to the diversity and innovation that enrich the Irish drinks landscape and contribute to rural economic growth. This entrepreneurial spirit should be encouraged.
“The overall Irish cider industry remains resilient and adaptable, and, with the right support, it can continue to flourish and contribute to the vibrant landscape of Ireland’s beverage sector.”
Despite the fact that the Irish cider industry celebrated a year of resurgence in 2022, exports declined and significant challenges remain for the sector, the research showed.
The report also shows that the estimated value of cider exports stood at €73.49 million in 2022, representing a decline of 5.6% on the previous year.
This decrease can be attributed to the exceptional export growth experienced in 2021, driven by new market opportunities and the reopening of off-trade channels in key export markets. The United Kingdom remains the most popular export destination for Irish cider, followed by the Netherlands and the United States.
Considering the significant challenges still facing the industry and the prevalence of small producers, the sector is calling on the government to reduce the excise on alcohol in the forthcoming Budget.
To support craft cider makers in particular, Drinks Ireland | Cider noted that the 50% relief from Alcohol Products Tax (APT) for cider and perry produced by qualifying small producers that was introduced in Budget 2023 should also be extended to qualifying small producers of products such as fruit-flavoured ciders and intermediate products linked to the category.
This expansion of the programme would encourage new entrants into the cider market and support existing small businesses as they grow and develop, the group added.