Could cider become the Apple of the publican’s eye?

As we approach World Cider Day it's worth bearing in mind that Ireland remains one of the leading cider markets in Europe. With the years ahead offering a potential uplift in off-trade cider sales, we review how this might affect the potential for growing cider sales in the pub.

Ireland is recognised as one of the leading cider markets in the EU with a market here worth over €519 million. At around 12.6 litres, our per capita cider consumption lies ahead of our more populated neighbours in the UK with 11.65 litres who also enjoy being a leading cider market worth €1.5 billion.

Here in Ireland however there’s plenty of room for growth.

This is particularly true for Irish craft cider producers who’re due to benefit from a reduction in excise duty later this year and with Minimum Unit Pricing now a fact of off-trade life.

In a report on European Cider Trends in 2021 GlobalData pointed out, “Although considerably smaller than the wine, beer, or spirits industries, it is nevertheless a fact that in recent years in some EU countries cider and fruit wines have enjoyed one of the fastest growth rates of all alcoholic beverages”.

As World Cider Day approaches on the 3rd of June cider holds nearly 7% of the total alcohol market here, making it the sixth-largest of 40 European cider markets.

We’re also the third-largest cider producer in the EU. Cider’s share of the total alcohol market – and its value at over €500 million – is roughly one-third of the UK’s 18% share.

At around 12.6 litres, our per capita cider consumption lies ahead of our more populated neighbours in the UK.

At around 12.6 litres, our per capita cider consumption lies ahead of our more populated neighbours in the UK.

Western Europe remains the world’s biggest cider market (with a global market share of 48%) and is the main engine for growth in this market of 450 million.

By country, the UK remains the largest cider market in the world by far with a 39% global market share and value of £1.3 billion (€1.52bn) – so Irish producers still have considerable scope for growth.



Bulmers Light floats new campaign 

Bulmers Light is encouraging consumers to look to the lighter side of life with its new ‘Floaty Little Devils’ campaign, running for six weeks across TV, Out-Of-Home, digital, PR, radio, social and in-trade activity.

The campaign aims to highlight the brand’s low calorie and taste credentials whilst bringing Bulmers Light’s unique sense of humour to life.

A new TV commercial kicked-off the campaign, led by creative agency Goosebump in collaboration with Pull the Trigger Productions, which premiered during coverage of Ireland’s Six Nations clash against France.

In addition to an extensive media plan, trade activity saw the brand’s first trial of Bulmers Light Draught across 40 trade accounts nationwide in March.

In-store activity included competitions at Point-Of-Purchase, campaign-specific Point Of Sale and full window wraps and displays in targeted stores.

The commercial, which sees the Bulmers Light team harvesting the special floating apples, “personifies the brand’s unique tone of voice, connecting with Irish consumers who’re looking for a lower calorie option without compromising on taste or personality,” states Bulmers.

According to Karl Donnelly, Marketing Director for Bulmers Ireland, “We asked Goosebump for a way to talk about Bulmers Light that communicated its surprisingly low-calorie content. However, we also wanted the idea to express the fact that a pint or bottle of Bulmers Light is in every way, a proper Bulmers.

“‘Floaty Little Devils’ delivers all the key elements of the Bulmers brand story but does it with a light twist – a twist that’s fun and engaging”.

The 360° campaign also saw the brand create a custom-made interactive game as part of a media partnership. The game will task users with catching Bulmers Light’s floaty little Apples to be in with a chance of winning a variety of prizes including an exciting zero gravity experience.

A social media competition supported with national radio advertising has also been launched where consumers tag “the apple of their eye” to be in with the chance to win a hot air balloon ride over the brand’s famous Clonmel Orchard.

For more information, visit or Bulmers Ireland on Facebook and Instagram.

Q&As with Bulmers’ Marketing Director Karl  Donnelly

What can you tell us about the cider category in terms of LAD share in the on-trade etc?

Prior to the pandemic cider held a 12.5% share of the Long Alcoholic Drinks category across the on- & off-trade combined. Over the last two years, we’ve seen this share grow further and as of January 2022, it now represents 12.8%.

Of course, much of this growth in share has come from the off-licence category which benefited from the on-trade closures. At a brand level Bulmers has further strengthened its leadership position in the off-trade by growing its share of the cider category by over three share points.

Bulmers is strengthening its position by further growing its share of the cider category in the on-trade to 62.8%, up from 61.1% in February.

More specifically, Bulmers is by far the leading brand of cider in the on-trade – how do you propose to maintain that position going forward?

Bulmers has a 50.3% off-trade share and a 62.8% on-trade share of the cider market. Growth has come for a variety of reasons but one is that we’re a local brand – 15% of consumers state that it’s more important that their drink is Irish compared to a year ago.

Bulmers has invested significantly again in developing the brand and driving category growth over the last two years and consumers have responded to that. It’s the first time we were back on TV since 2017.

Our core focus is driving relevance with our target consumer. Lifestyles and consumer needs have changed a great deal in the last two to three years; there are many reference points that bring colour to this picture, from the growth of the NoLo category to people’s life-changing experiences during rolling Lockdowns, to the ever-present need for sustainable solutions.

We know that the only way to maintain growth is by maintaining relevance and those cultural and category references have formed the foundations of our brand and communications for the remainder of the year and foreseeable future.
Our activation plans will span a program of events both in the on-trade and in how our audience experiences the brand on a day-to-day basis via the relationship we create with them on social media, via our brand partnerships, or at the bar and in-store.

Our sustainability pillar is an incredibly rich and exciting space for the brand. Bees, pollinators and Ireland’s biodiversity are key to the success and quality of the Bulmers product range.

 Tell us what differentiates the new Bulmers Light campaign from others?

Bulmers Light has grown in recent years on the back of increased consumer focus on health and wellness, now making up 13.2% of Bulmers off-sales. Cider is the most profitable category within LAD for publicans so by increasing consumer engagement with the category through our Bulmers Light campaign, we can help to pull more consumers into the category and increase profitability for publicans when it’s needed most.

Bulmers Light is only 28 calories per 100ml. This has become increasingly more important for younger consumers with 37% of cider-drinkers saying it’s more important to them now than a year ago that their drink is healthy.

The challenge was to communicate that Bulmers had a product offering that could really deliver on the consumer need for a low calorie cider that tastes as delicious and refreshing as the Original.

‘Floaty Little Devil’ delivers all the elements of the Bulmers brand story but does it with a Light twist.

The ad really communicates the product properties in a way that catches viewers’ attention and the media plan to support it has been specifically targeted at the younger demographic to drive awareness with TV, Social, Radio, Out Of Home, In-store, on-trade and even hot air balloon trips over the Bulmers Orchard up for grabs.

Tell us a bit about Bulmers Sustainability campaign and why publicans should care?

The Bulmers Sustainability Project includes the installation of what is now the largest rooftop solar panel farm in Ireland.

The Bulmers Sustainability Project includes the installation of what is now the largest rooftop solar panel farm in Ireland.

It’s fair to say sustainability is here to stay and for that very reason publicans should care – it’s what consumers are telling us again and again, they want to make sustainable choices and are seeking brands to help them.

‘Irish and local’ became the cream that rose to the top as a result of the pandemic. One in two consumers actively seek our products with sustainability claims while 56% say it’s hard to find sustainable products in-store.

79% think sustainable products are more expensive yet local ingredients are important to shoppers with 61% actively trying to buy products with low food miles.

In the trade specifically, for example, other brands have removed their returnable bottles while we’ve retained the iconic returnable Bulmers Pint Bottle.

By using Apples from across Ireland, we limit the amount of carbon generated. While the use of Irish Apples is critically important for our carbon footprint, it also has a direct benefit to bee populations across Ireland which are vital to Ireland’s biodiversity.

Down in the orchard itself the Bulmers team maintain 13km of healthy hedgerows to support the bee and pollinator population and maintain strong biodiversity in the area while also working alongside the South Tipperary Bee Keepers Association and their 15 hives on site.

Leo Varadkar, Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, officially opened C&C Group's new Sustainability Project at the Bulmers Cider manufacturing facility in Clonmel recently.

Leo Varadkar, Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, officially opened C&C Group’s new Sustainability Project at the Bulmers Cider manufacturing facility in Clonmel recently.










Kopparberg – Ireland’s #1 fruit cider brand

The independent fruit cider giant now plays across multiple categories within alcohol including Cider, Spirits & RTDs and is driving cross-category growth.

Within Fruit Cider, Kopparberg makes up a 75% share and is the clear leader in the category, holding the top two flavours – Strawberry & Lime and Mixed Fruits – respectively. Last year Kopparberg added Strawberry & Lime vodka to its growing Spirits portfolio where it already had a variety of flavoured Rums and Gins.

Kopparberg’s Gin is one of the fastest-growing brands in the category and still growing. This performance has firmly established the brand as an innovative flavour powerhouse within the Irish market.

This year Kopparberg, distributed by Richmond Marketing, celebrates 140 years of its original brewery in the namesake town of Kopparberg.

For more information, visit @KopparbergIreland.



Cooney’s Irish Cider is produced with 100% Irish Apples using traditional cider-making techniques. The final blend is created using Apples from its own orchards in County Tipperary, orchards that yield some of the finest quality Apples in Ireland.

With its  own spring water and Irish honey bees, the team at Cooney’s ensures that from blossom to bottle, consumers get the finest and most refreshing Irish cider.

Cooney’s Irish Cider is crafted using Apple varieties such as Dabinet, Michelin and Ashton Bitter, with each Apple adding to the complexity of a flavour profile that’s sure to appeal to cider-lovers. No artificial sweeteners, colours or flavourings are used and Cooney’s Cider is naturally Vegan and Gluten-free.

Cooney’s Irish Cider is available in 500ml bottles and 30L kegs nationwide; for more information contact (059) 972 0509 or e-mail


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