The big apple

According to Drinks Ireland, cider remains Ireland’s third most popular alcohol beverage behind beer and wine, and an important component of Ireland’s drinks market. Over the past decade it has contributed over half a billion euro in excise to the exchequer so it is an extremely valuable and fast-growing sector.
The Irish cider market
Jennifer Wallace, Drinks Ireland Cider

Jennifer Wallace, Drinks Ireland Cider

Jennifer Wallace, from Drinks Ireland | Cider says that cider is an important element of Ireland’s drinks market

Drinks Ireland recently published Pride of Place – policy priorities for the growth of the Irish drinks industry 2025-2030. Our Irish cider producing members are proud of the communities they support across Ireland, as well as the support they give to farmers, whose apples they buy. They are proud too of the brands they make, and the choice and variety this offers consumers. With this pride of place comes confidence in the future. Drinks Ireland | Cider is confident that, with the right support and policies from government, the Irish cider industry can continue to grow and thrive.
Market overview
The most recent data available shows sales of over 55 million litres of cider in 2022 using approximately 50,000 tonnes of apples. Like other alcohol variants, cider makes a significant contribution to the exchequer with around €52 million worth of excise duty collected in 2022. While over the past decade it has contributed over half a billion euro in excise receipts alone to the exchequer. In 2023, Irish cider exports experienced strong growth, increasing by 11 percent to reach €80 million. The UK is by far the key export market for the category, accounting for 90 percent of overall exports. At home, cider remains Ireland’s third most popular alcohol beverage behind beer and wine, and an important component of Ireland’s drinks market.
The industry is embracing sustainability, from innovative cider production practices to advancing the circular economy. But there is a need for greater levels of grant support for sustainability investments. The high excise levels are also a major concern for cider producers like the rest of the alcohol drinks sector. Combining excise and VAT, almost 28 percent of the price of a pint of cider is tax. We have the third highest cider excise rate across the EU, and Drinks Ireland | Cider continues to press government to align these rates with European averages.

Welcoming cider excise relief scheme

In 2023, Drinks Ireland | Cider welcomed the introduction of a 50 percent relief from Alcohol Products Tax (APT) for cider and perry produced by qualifying small producers. This has already shown clear benefits for our craft cider producers, enabling them to invest in distribution, innovation, and expansion. We believe that this relief should also be extended to qualifying craft producers of products such as fruit-flavoured ciders or intermediate products linked to the category. This move would encourage new entrants into cider making and would support establishing small-scale cideries as they develop.
The Irish cider industry is resilient and adaptable, and with the right support, it can continue to flourish and contribute to the vibrant landscape of Ireland’s beverage sector. Craft cider producers play a pivotal role in the category, contributing to the diversity and innovation that enrich the Irish drinks offering and contribute to rural economic growth. This entrepreneurial spirit should be encouraged. Drinks Ireland | Cider will continue to support its members in the growth of the cider sector, both nationally and internationally.

Thieving the number one spot

In 2015, Orchard Thieves cider burst onto the scene to shake up the cider category, coming in as a challenger brand to the market leader. Since the launch, Orchard Thieves has enjoyed amazing success, including thieving the number one spot as the biggest draught cider in Ireland.*In recent years, research** has shown that younger consumers now have a varied preference around taste and levels of sweetness, especially when it comes to cider. The company wanted to bring bold new news to the cider category and create an option that appealed to a broad range of consumers, be it current or even lapsed cider drinkers.
The new line extension, Orchard Thieves Wild is a less sweet, more natural tasting 4% apple cider with a crisp refreshing finish. It has dramatically reduced sugar content (2.2g per 100ml), less calories and no artificial sweeteners.
Developed specifically for the Irish market with Irish consumers having fed into every step of the journey from recipe to design. Extensive research has validated that the high-quality taste and product design will drive purchase intent*** with younger consumers ahead of current cider brands in market.
In trade, Orchard Thieves Wild will be served from draught in a new branded stemmed pint glass, the first of its kind in the cider category. The launch will be supported by a disruptive marketing campaign which includes media support, sampling plan and PR.
Orchard Thieves Wild will be available in pint format nationwide and will also be available in 4 x 500ml can in supermarkets and off licences.

* Source: *Source: “CGA OPM data to January 2024’
**Source: MCCP Qualitative Research March 2022: Understanding Gen Z, the Cider Category and Orchard
***Source: Metrix Lab Quantitative Research; 325 Respondents 50:50 Male: Female 20-35 years old P3M & lapsed cider drinkers

On the rise!

Kopparberg continues to make waves in the on-trade market with impressive performance metrics showcasing its dominance and popularity among cider enthusiasts. According to recent data, Kopparberg has solidified its position as the second-largest packaged cider brand, boasting a remarkable 12.9% market share. What’s even more remarkable is the substantial increase of +2.7 percentage points within the last 52 weeks, indicating a strong upward trajectory in consumer preference and demand.

Look on the lighter side of life

Following on from an exciting winter for Bulmers which saw the activation of Christmas in the on and off-trade, Bulmers has reactivated the Floaty Little Devils campaign for Bulmers Light.
Bulmers Light apples are floaty little devils, due to their lower calorie content. They are elusive little blighters that are a nightmare to harvest. Bulmers has a whole team of catchers on hand to collect the Bulmers Light apples. “You’ve got to keep a watchful eye on them! You see, they’re floaty little devils. We’d go as far as to say that Bulmers Light is lightness itself. Fermented from our 17 varieties of apples all sourced from the island of Ireland, they’re got that unmistakable Bulmers refreshment but a fraction of the calories. That’s right, just 84 calories per 300ml. Floaty and flavoursome, that’s Bulmers Light!” says the Bulmer’s team.
According to Karl Donnelly, Bulmers Ireland marketing director,” 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 Bulmers Light is in every way, a proper pint of Bulmers. Floaty Little Devils delivers all the key elements of the Bulmers brand story but does it with a light twist. A twist that is fun and engaging. We’re delighted with the work”.
Bulmers Light encourages consumers to look on the lighter side of life with this campaign that highlights the brand’s low calorie and great taste credentials whilst bringing Bulmers Light’s unique sense of humour to life.

Zero fuss, full on taste

Armagh Cider Company proudly unveiled its latest creation, Armagh Cider Zero, during the esteemed Opera and Orchards event held at the Market Place Theatre in Armagh. This innovative beverage offers a blend of the company’s award-winning cider, sparkling Co Armagh spring water and freshly pressed apple juice, resulting in a bright, sparkling, non-alcoholic cider with a light, elegant, and crisp flavour profile.
“We are thrilled with the positive feedback we’ve received from those who had the opportunity to enjoy a complimentary glass of Armagh Cider Zero,” said Helen Troughton, owner and director of Armagh Cider Company. “We produced Zero as a result of consumer demand, as the industry anticipates that non-alcoholic drinks will soar in popularity this year and beyond. Irish consumers are seeking more balance in their drinking and are availing themselves of the growing range of alternatives now available.”
She continued, “Armagh is well-known for its PGI status for the bramley apple, and Armagh Cider Company proudly carries on this heritage and provenance. As the first commercial cider producer in Northern Ireland, making award winning cider since 2006, we are dedicated to crafting high-quality beverages that reflect the rich apple-growing tradition of our region. We had tested the market with a low alcohol cider a few years ago, but it seems we were ahead of our time!”
For enquiries regarding becoming a stockist of Armagh Cider Zero or further information, please contact


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