I love these stories! Read on! Great story by Charles Waterhouse of the The Mercury in Tasmania, Australia.
TASMANIA’S moniker as the Apple Isle has taken on a whole new meaning with growing alcoholic cider sales, and it is having some interesting consequences.
Captain Bligh’s Tasmanian Cider owner Matt Osborne said cider continued to be the fastest-growing alcohol category in Australia.
At a time when Australian premium beer sales have plunged, international premiums, and cider in particular, have been filling the void.
Mr Osborne said he started his venture because Tasmania was a huge producer of apples and it still did not have a cider industry, and he liked to drink cider.
Mr Osborne said cider suited the Australian climate.
Fruit Growers Tasmania business development manager Lucy Gregg said between demands for apples from apple juice and cider manufacturers quite a market had developed for second-grade apples.
Tasmania already has quite a number of craft cider producers.
Some have spun off cider making from producing craft beers, including the Two Metre Tall Company in the Derwent Valley and winemakers like Holm Oak in the Tamar Valley.
Jane Huntington, co-owner and general manager of the Two Metre Tall Company, said you only needed to walk into a bottle shop to see the explosion of cider brands from New Zealand and across Australia.
“We started producing beer early in 2006 and then added cider into the mix, I think in 2009,” she said.
“We knew there was a demand and we had a request from a mainland distributor because he could see huge interest in the market.”
Mrs Huntington said cider was treated the same way as wine tax-wise, which was a much easier environment than beer, making it much easier for cider producers.
The business she and her husband ran was reaching a point where the output of beer and cider was almost equal.
A Nielsen survey shows that in the 12 months to last November international premium beer sales such as Corona were up 12.7 per cent.
At the same time, domestic premium beers had dropped 11.2 per cent – and cider sales surged 53 per cent.
The portfolio of Foster’s Group Ltd Australia’s largest brewer includes Tasmania’s Cascade, VB, Crown Lager, Carlton Draught and imports including Corona and Asahi, and Foster’s also makes two cider brands Australia’s oldest Hobart produced Mercury Cider and NSW produced Strongbow Cider.
Foster’s group spokesman Dan Holland said when Australians choose to drink the resounding majority still choose beer.
“We are still a nation of beer drinkers by a longshot,” he said.