Chart 5- # Current USA Cider Maker Starts by-Year/Type
The earliest USA cider makers were primarily taverns/hostelries and apple orchard/farms, especially in the 17th to 19th centuries.
In the mid-1980s along with new cideries more existing wineries and breweries began to produce cider, followed by a significant rise in numbers for all four producer types starting in 2008.
In general, American alcoholic beverage consumers were apparently ready for change in drinking options over the traditional USA big beer brands and international wines as evidenced by the explosion in USA wineries and craft breweries since the 1970/80s:•From the mid-1970s, when California won the prestigious French Judgment of Paris wine tasting contest, wineries have opened across the nation at an extraordinary pace to exceed 8,700 in the 50 USA states (Wines Business Monthly 2016).
Although still lagging well behind wine and beer, craft cider production seems to have benefited from a similar substantial increase in alcoholic beverage consumer demand for change and variety during the last decade.
Chart 6- Current USA Cider Makers by-Type with “Tasting” Rooms
“Tastings” have been a staple offering of wineries since the earliest days and especially since the 1970s for those in California’s Napa and Sonoma wine counties. In the early days, those tastings may have taken place at simple stands alongside the road or small rooms at the winery set-aside for the purpose, with few charging a fee for a taste. Today’s tasting rooms at wineries, breweries, meaderies and cideries run the full gamut from modest setups available for “tasting by appointment”, to elaborate tasting room spaces handling dozens of customers at a time, typically for a fee, to even larger “tastings” with full bottle retail, extended bar and restaurant capabilities.
For those wineries, breweries and meaderies that make a cider the vast majority have tasting rooms, typically associated with marketing their primary beverage with cider to follow. By contrast, nearly half of cideries do not have tasting rooms. Given the number of smaller cideries with only local distribution, cider makers might consider taking a lesson from the wine industry that reported tasting rooms “…have become increasingly important as outlets for direct-to-consumer sales, particularly for small wineries that do not have extensive distribution arrangements…” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tasting_room) and that, tasting rooms and Direct To Consumer (DTC) sales at wineries accounted for 60% of all smaller winery sales (July 2016 Wine Business Monthly https://www.winebusiness.com/wbm/)
Chart 14- Current USA Cider Makers Using “Heirloom” Cider Apples by Type
Nearly 22% of all cider makers claim to use at least one type of “heirloom” cider apple in their hard ciders (http://www.ciderschool.com/orcharding/apples/).
Notably, 27% of cidery producers assert “heirloom” use while only 13.5% for wineries, one meadery and no breweries claim to use “heirloom” apples.
All cider maker statements about using “heirloom” apples are self-reported by the cider maker at their websites, on social media or in news media. Similar to defining “organic”, given the importance placed on them, if not clearly stated as using heirloom apples we assumed they did not use them without further verification.
In some cases the actual apple types from a cider maker were identified and may be cross referenced to a list of “heirloom” apple types, but often the term was used more generally without specific apple varieties listed.
Chart 8- Current USA Cider Makers by-Type with “Direct” Online Sales
“Direct” sales are typically and most profitably defined as face-to-face sales at a winery/cidery through means such as farm-gate sales, onsite retail and/or tasting rooms. However, direct-to-consumer shipping through online sales are increasing, providing another potentially important revenue stream for cider makers. Direct shipping through online sales are described for this survey as the cider maker promoting direct-to-consumer shipping, with an online sales presence at their website; through their dedicated third-party online seller; or by telephone/fax order direct to the maker. The effectiveness and reach of direct shipping through online sales differs greatly depending on the type of alcoholic beverage (cider, wine, beer, mead), each state’s interpretation of the three-tier alcoholic beverage distribution system (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three-tier_(alcohol_distribution), and most importantly the producer’s location/state and the state to where it will be shipped.
Only 16% of cider makers surveyed have direct-online sales, down slightly from 17% in 2014. As wineries have proven though, given sufficient legal leverage to loosen direct sales laws and an improving online system, there may be an important revenue stream for cideries in these type sales. Wineries with a cider have the greatest percentage with direct sales 50%, although in all cases the cider sales appear to take advantage of an existing, much larger direct wine sales option at the winery. And some wineries with direct shipping sales for their wine for whatever reasons do not include their cider. However 2015 was a “strong year” with solid increases in percentages for direct shipping wine to consumers across the US contributing nearly 11% to total wine sales volume- another avenue that might prove profitable for cideries to more fully pursue (Ship Compliant 2016, https://www.shipcompliant.com/blog/2016/07/07/wine-shipping-sees-growth-across-us/).
Online cider sales challenges include:•Each state defines “cider” differently and those differences affect the producers ability to legally sell and ship intra and interstate.
Chart 3- # Current USA Cider Maker Starts by-Year
The chart highlights the significant increase in USA cider production starts by year beginning in 2008, and then dramatically accelerating in 2014 through 2015, with a substantial slowdown occurring in 2016. The numbers for 2016 will likely improve as more are belatedly identified during 2017. While the percentage increase in cider sales dropped in 2015 due to greater competition from new lines of “craft” alcoholic beverages (http://www.star2.com/food/food-news/2016/09/04/we-drank-more-cider-tequila-and-premium-whisky-last-year/) they were still good for cider overall and expected to stay in positive territory through 2020 (http://finance.yahoo.com/news/global-cider-packaging-market-2016-220600569.html). Of note within the cider sector the lower percentage increases were primarily for the largest commercial cider makers, while the “craft” makers continued to have much better, often double-digit, percentage sales increases (https://www.brewbound.com/news/apple-watch-behind-cider-slowdown).
88% of new cider maker starts have occurred since 2008. Unsure why the substantial increase in cider maker starts that year except that in general the alcoholic beverage drinking population was beginning to experiment with many new “craft” beer tastes over the more traditional and was purchasing new “artisanal” brands in such as vodka, tequila and whiskey.
2014/2015 recorded the greatest number of new cider makers increasing the total nearly 40% in just two years.
Chart 12- Current USA Cider Makers with Orchards by Type
While many still do, the majority of cider makers today do not own/lease their orchards but rather purchase/contract for fruit/juice from others. And even those who own orchards as demand has grown for their cider and exceeded their orchard capacity they have had to augment supply and purchase additional apples/juice elsewhere.
For wineries, breweries and meaderies, hard cider is basically an extender, another revenue producing product that can easily be added to the portfolio employing shared equipment and techniques from their primary beverage type.
For cidery-based producers, hard cider making is no longer simply another revenue stream for an established farmer/orchardist, as it had been especially with sweet cider. Hard cider making now is for the majority of cidery-based producers the primary enterprise in their business model.
The numbers of cider makers without their own orchards, as well as new wineries and breweries joining the field, and greatly expanded sales for those with orchards, has had collateral consequences such as significant increased demand on the availability of apples, and especially heirloom apples, from commercial orchards.
Chart 9- Current USA Cider Producers by-Type for Sales Reach
Over 69% of cider producers currently report local sales only- which has increased 5% from 2014, reflecting the numbers of new “craft” cider makers selling at the local level. While the sales distribution growth for cideries over time was not fully captured in our survey, from our observations a number of cider producers that began as local distributors only have prospered and expanded their distribution to regional and even national levels. Only 6.2% of cider producers report national distribution, with few of these distributing in more than 50% of the states- the same as 2014 however more telling the raw numbers show a 52% increase in cider makers with national distribution in only 2 years. An exception are the newer cideries owned by large national breweries that have taken advantage of their parent company’s existing national beer distribution systems to rapidly rise to a regional or even full national level.
For this study the “Reach” definitions are:
Local- sold at or within a reasonably short distance from the producer, which may include one or more large urban centers.
State- distributed throughout most of the state, and especially at the state’s largest urban centers.
Regional- distributed to more than one state, usually although not always contiguous states to the cider maker’s location.
National- distributed generally across the nation, although typically not available in every state.
Chart 7- Current USA Cider Makers with “Tasting” by-State
The chart depicts the availability of “tasting” experiences by state for all current cider maker types identified. States like Michigan, Washington, Oregon, Pennsylvania and New York have many more on-site tasting opportunities, thereby enabling a more full “cider route” experience for travelers. Of note, California which has by far the highest number of wineries and wine tasting rooms of any state, has the lowest percentage of cider tasting prospects among the six largest cider making states shown.
Chart 2- # Current USA Cider Makers by-State
Nearly 70% of cider makers are located in the more traditional northeast, mid-northern, west and northwestern apple growing states. However, cider production has been expanding rapidly in recent years to other states in all USA regions, especially the southwest and southeast.•Cider making by-state has recently extended to 45 USA states and the District of Columbia, across which we have so far identified 702 currently operating commercial cider makers; by comparison beer and wine producers are found in all 50 states.
Cider Maker Survey The Cyder Market hard cider information for cider makers and drinkers about the 2016 cider maker survey results.
Chart 10- Current USA Cider Makers Identified as “Urban vs Rural” by Type
In defining “urban” vs “rural” based cider makers those that were located away from an urban setting and/or owned/leased farm/orchard/vineyard or other similar arrangement in a rural setting were considered “rural”. While those that were located in urban city/town settings, even if a small distributed town/village, that were not associated with a farm/orchard/vineyard were identified as “urban”.
Meadery- The handful of meaderies that make a classifiable cider are primarily located in more urban areas and contract for their cider ingredients.
Brewery- All but one of the breweries making cider that we identified were urban whether they were production-only breweries or more typically for today’s craft breweries a combination brewery and tasting room or restaurant.
Winery- 82% of wineries are “rural” and are located among or near their owned or leased vineyards. 18% of wineries are urban fermentation sites with contracted fruit/juice.
Cidery- Cider makers are more closely split between those located at an urban or rural site.
Chart 13- Current USA Cider Makers Using Organically Grown Fruits by Type
Only about 9% of cider makers report that they use organically grown fruit in their cider making. Fruit either from their own farm/orchard or where they have contracted with an organic grower.
“Organic” for purposes of this survey was defined as where the growing practices have been formally certified as organic or where the cider maker claims to use accepted “organic growing practices” that may or may not be formally certified.
All testaments to using “organic” growing practices and fruit are self-reported at the cider makers’ websites/social media sites, by email or in news media reports. Given the typically significant additional efforts required to produce organic products we assumed that if a cider maker did not mention that they were certified organic or employed good organic practices, then they were not organic.
Chart 4- USA Current Cider Makers First Started by-State/Year
Based on the 702 current cider makers, for each of the 45 states and the District of Columbia the earliest year for commercial cider production is noted. There were additional cider producers during these years, however these are the start years for those still operating commercial makers we have identified. These are commercial cider production sales start dates only. Many cideries took more than a year to go from licensing to selling, and most wineries, breweries, and meaderies were operating years, and often even decades, before producing their first cider.•For the 19th century cidery in Connecticut, they likely did not operate legally during the Prohibition years thus have not been in continuous operation, however they appear to have started making hard cider at the earliest date for any currently operating cider maker.
The Cyder Market hard cider information for cider makers and drinkers about the 2016 cider maker survey results.
Chart 11- Current USA Cider Makers Identified as “Urban vs Rural” by Year
Of note, most cider makers located at rural sites owned/leased their farms/orchards/vineyards and were the first to start making hard cider. However, beginning in 2008 more “urban” based cider makers that may not own/lease orchards but rather purchase/contract for fruit and/or juice have launched. That number rose considerably higher in 2015 when many more craft cider sites opened in urban areas with most functioning like craft beer including tasting rooms/restaurants. Along with the increase in urban cideries changing the basic image of cider making, another variable collected but not displayed as a separate chart identified 22 cider makers (all who have started business since 2011) who do not own orchards and do not ferment their own ciders- their ciders are completely out-sourced through a contracted “custom crush” and ferment type operation that turns apples to juice, and juice to cider and bottles/cans the cider with their proprietary label. Some of these cider makers have used off-site contracting to produce their cider in their start-up phase and have since purchased the equipment to begin their own fermenting.
Current USA Cider Makers Survey- Updated January 2017
The Cyder Market, LLC, along with daily additions/corrections, semi-annually conducts a 100% review and updates all the information provided at its website. This maintenance review includes testing every link, evaluating each linked site for current status and changes, and updating the information available at the Cyder Market website for everything from domestic and international cider makers, to festivals and associations, to cider-related books and cider making equipment. While conducting this website information maintenance we also update the USA cider makers database which profiles key variables associated with the growth and reach of the USA cider industry over the previous year.
About the Database:
Variables Collected- Data for 20 primary variables on each cider maker was collected (over 14,000 fields) - to include: Cider Maker name; state; website address; the year that the producer began commercial cider production; the presence of a “tasting” room; direct (telephone/online) sales availability; whether they have international sales, use organic products, use heirloom apples, own/lease their orchard, ferment in-house, whether the maker was primarily known as a cider/wine/beer or mead producer; and the number and types/style of cider/perry product made by each producer. Since the Cyder Market website focuses on issues of cider availability and accessibility in order to connect cider drinkers with makers, we did not collect other important variables about production such as sales by volume or revenue. However, these have been recorded and published by many others in the professional business analysis/insights sector (see our www.cydermarket.com books/references page).
Maker Types- The Cyder Market website pages for domestic makers include all the cider makers that we have identified who solely or in combination with other beverage types (i.e. wine, beer, mead) produce cider/cyder/perry. Due to differences in Federal and State tax regulatory requirements, “ciders” with a higher ABV (alcohol by volume) may be taxed and classified as a “wine”, however regardless the ABV only those makers that have clearly labelled their product as a cider have been included. All the makers included at the website are identified as exclusively or predominantly a cider maker/cidery, a wine producer/winery, a beer producer/brewery or a mead producer/meadery.
Maker Numbers- As of January 2017, the Cyder Market website includes 702 makers of cider/cyder and perry located in 45 USA States and the District of Columbia. This total is an over 100% increase in cider makers and 18% increase in cider producing States since 2013. Of note, there are certainly other commercial hard cider makers operating today that are not included and we are working to identify them, however 702 would seem a good snapshot representation of today’s USA cider makers.•Among the 702 cider makers, 26 are listed as ‘Coming Soon’ with a planned 2017commercial opening reported on their website and other sources. The information available about each of these Coming Soon makers is sufficiently robust to suggest that they will be operational in the coming year.
Producer Survey Method: Most information for each producer variable was obtained directly from the cider maker’s website, Facebook or Twitter posting, and/or news articles and blog interviews about the maker available on the internet. When the information was not available online, an email was typically sent requesting the information. A telephone call appeal was made to those who did not respond to the email message or to those makers who did not have an available website or email. Nearly all the data collected for the variables on each cider maker is presented for review and verification at the Cyder Market website. For transparency sake though, all database information not fully recorded and available at the website is available upon request.
Chart Updates: Any comments on corrections and additions to the current website or database information are welcomed and when verified will be incorporated. As other cider makers are identified and corrections/updates are made to the database, future review charts will be modified to reflect these changes.
Chart 1- Current USA Cider Makers by-Type
Chart 1 depicts the number of cider makers who advertise themselves as primarily a cidery, winery, brewery or meadery and make at least one cider/perry.
The 702 cider makers in 45 States and the District of Columbia currently listed at the Cyder Market website/database comprise the survey set:•Only those USA cider makers who make at least one cider or perry (which may be solely of traditional apple or pear, or include fruit other than apple, and may be newer blended or infused styles) are included in the charts, which represents 702 currently operating commercial makers of hard cider/perry.
By contrast to the total 702 current cider makers, there are over 8,700 wineries (Wines Business Monthly 2016) and over 4,200 breweries (Brewers Association, 2016) as well as over 300 mead makers (American Mead Makers Association, 2016) in the USA.