Brewer Monteith's is turning its hand from hops to fermented apples as it looks to tap into New Zealand's growing $4.5 million cider market.
The DB Breweries-owned West Coast brewery expects to have its 100 per cent pure New Zealand sourced Crushed Apple Cider on tap and in bottles in bars nationwide from September.
Monteith's brand manager Russell Browne says cider is becoming increasing popular in New Zealand with annual sales growing at 13 per cent.
"Kiwis are keen on natural products that have a great taste - not products made from concentrates.
And currently there's a flow of New Zealanders returning from their OEs and bringing with them the tastes they have developed in the old country."
In Britain the cider market is worth a massive 1.8 billion a year (NZ$4.42 billion) and is the fastest growing category within the Beers, Wines & Spirits sector (BWS). Even in the on-trade, where the recession has hammered the pub industry, cider is one of only two categories in growth.
Cider has continued to grow in popularity over the last few years, which has largely been driven by consumption for over ice brands such as Magners.
Pear cider is also a contributing factor behind the resurgence in the drink. It is credited with bringing in new consumers to the sector, and in particular female drinkers, who tend to prefer it to the more traditional apple cider.
Here the drink has suffered image damage caused in part by the use of low-rent PET bottles a plastic which has the more formal name of polyethylene teraphthalate and in part by low quality raw materials where concentrate has been used in the production process.
"Specifically, people are looking for a premium cider and we have been developing a 100 per cent New Zealand apple sourced cider to meet this growing consumer demand," said Mr Browne.
"This summer we're picking people will enjoy it poured over ice for the ultimate refreshment hit.''
Monteith's 4.5 per cent alcohol by volume (ABV) offering will also be available from supermarkets and liquor stores with a recommended retail price of $14.99 per four pack.
SO "not products made from concentrates."
Does this mean Monteith's are getting apples and freshly crushing them?