BACKGROUNDER: LCBO SUPPORT FOR ONTARIO CIDER
June 13, 2016
Ontario produces some of the world’s best ciders and sales at the LCBO continue to see exponential growth. It’s expected that the category will continue to grow at a significant rate, especially Ontario craft cider made from 100 per cent local fruit. LCBO is committed to supporting this sector and the jobs it creates for Ontario apple growers and processors. This is why our buyers regularly meet with producers to discuss the market and how to best increase their sales.
The numbers: Sales of Ontario cider (including large publically-owned companies and independent, small batch producers) have more than quadrupled within the last three years, totaling $17.6 million in fiscal 2015-16. This represented a 40 per cent growth over the previous year. Craft ciders, almost a third of these sales, grew 54 per cent over last year with sales totaling $5.1 million. Single-serve cans account for 72 per cent of sales in this category and almost all of the growth. In the last five years, LCBO has launched approximately 35 new cider brands. Currently, we carry 21 ciders from 11 local craft cideries.
Ontario Craft Cider Pack: As a way for consumers to discover and experience the various offerings of our local cideries and encourage sales, LCBO introduced in spring 2015 a seasonal sample pack that features six different local craft ciders. We are now working with our local cideries to offer this annually during the spring and summer months.
Promotional opportunities: Ontario cider benefits from LCBO promotional programs such as end aisle displays, mini-thematics, monthly promotions and free standing inserts in daily newspapers. Locally produced craft cider is also now featured in LCBO’s annual ‘Taste Local Love Local’ fall promotion and during the winter holidays.
Partnerships: LCBO works closely with the Ontario Craft Cider Association to help develop a strategic, long-term plan for its members that will encourage consumer awareness and sales growth for local cider producers. LCBO buyers regularly meet with craft cider producers to discuss the evolving market in Ontario and elsewhere and to offer advice on how best to do business with LCBO to increase their sales. The LCBO has also presented at the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Grower’s Convention to review trends and opportunities.
Local Fridge Program: Going forward, the LCBO is working on more dedicated shelving for craft cider. It will be part of the Local Fridge program which will highlight beer and cider products from the local community in a refrigerated space.
Education: Through an inCider Guide that is available online and in store (thematic brochures), the LCBO educates consumers about the types of cider available and provides food pairing and cider cocktail ideas, contributing to the public’s interest in discovering and learning about new products.