Will 2024 finally be the year of hard cider?

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After experiencing more than a decade of steady growth, could the hard cider market surge in popularity this year?

The beverage industry is undergoing significant change thanks to cultural trends and shifting consumer behaviors. This might worry those still adjusting in the aftermath of the pandemic, but this climate could bring needed growth to some under-the-radar markets.

Could hard cider be one of those markets this year?

In 2022, the global hard cider market was valued at $7 billion and is expected to be worth $11.40 billion by 2032. In North America, the market is predicted to reach $2.1 billion by 2028–up from $1.8 billion in 2023.

While the fall favorite drink is currently trending upward, hard cider has held a small but steady share of the alcoholic beverage industry for over a decade, thanks to the brewery boom of the early 2010s. The coinciding craft beer movement and the growing demand for gluten-free products at that time also helped boost hard cider’s popularity.

“There was a synergy of the craft beer movement, a new gluten-free trend and an interest in local food,” Executive Director of the American Cider Association Michelle McGrath told Northeastern Global News. “And you get all of those things with cider.”

This year, I predict a similar tide that will not only give hard cider its overdue moment but also give a boost to breweries.

Similar to the 2010s, today’s consumers are on the heels of economic turbulence and gravitating towards more health-conscious offerings. From functional drinks (like kombucha and fortified water) to low-alcohol products and natural ingredients, more people are prioritizing wellness in their beverage choices. As a drink filled with vitamins and antioxidants, I see hard cider gaining status as a natural, healthy beer alternative.

Customers are also increasingly demanding sparkling beverages like wine and water, making the environment even more hospitable to fizzy hard cider. Furthermore, younger generations are changing cultural attitudes around canned alcoholic beverages.

The time seems ripe for a hard cider resurgence. Even countries once far removed from cider culture are experiencing a growth in popularity, production and industry reputation. As excited as I am to witness the growth of this space, I am most eager about the opportunities this moment will create for both new and experienced brewers.

Danilo Diazgranados is an independent investor in the global food and wine, financial services, real estate, and the hospitality sectors.

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