BACKGROUNDER: LCBO SUPPORT FOR ONTARIO CIDER
August 17, 2017
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 tripled within the last four years, totaling $23.7 million in fiscal 2016-17. This represented a 35 per cent growth over the previous year. Single-serve cans account for 71 per cent of sales in this category and all of the growth. In the last three years, LCBO has launched 32 new cider brands. Craft ciders, almost a third of these sales, grew 39 per cent over last year with sales totaling $7.1 million. As of July 2017, we carry 27 ciders from 17 local craft cideries.
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.