You may think that cider is just a man’s game—and the fact that the board of the U.S. Association of Cider Makers contains 10 men and just 1 woman would certainly seem to bear that out—but a group of hard-working women are advancing the craft in many different capacities.
Cider experts are also excited about cider’s appeal to women. Although exact figures aren’t easy to come by, industry watchers estimate that cider drinking runs about 50-50 between men and women, compared to something closer to a 70-30 ratio for beer.
Enter the Pomme Boots Society, an organization dedicated to supporting women in the cider industry. Much like the Pink Boots Society for women in the beer industry, the Pomme Boots Society seeks to bring together women craft cider professionals to grow opportunities for networking, mentoring, support and continued education.
Cider may be consumed more like beer, but as the category continues to grow, appealing to younger, more affluent consumers, cider's success will likely encroach on the wine category, according to Rabobank's report.
An illustrative example is Heineken's trial of Ciderie Stassen in the UK market. Housed in a 750ml bottle and closed with a cork, the cider borrows cues from the world of sparkling wine to ride the trend of premiumisation within the category.
Jordan Sager's thoughtful analysis of the opportunity entitled Elevate the Image argues that "as cider producers work to refute the reputation of a sweet and simple beverage of the past, a productive strategy would be to elevate the image and develop the core sensibilities for the complex and higher quality beverage it is capable of being."
Increasingly, canned cider is entering popular culture in the USA. Examples include Bantam's 'Americain' in cans, Far From The Tree's Nova in 16 oz. four-packs and now, Shacksbury Cider.
Shacksbury is notable in that they've historically sold in heavy 500 ml bottles reflecting their higher price point and premium positioning. In this Cider Chat interview Colin Davis describes some of the reasons behind the canning experiment:
"We like how casual cans are and they help us bring our price point down so it's just more accessible... grabbing cans - they're lighter and easier to take on picnics and stuff"
In the UK, where cider in cans remains uncommon, Brothers is experimenting with cider in resealable cartons, targeting festival goers.