By James Atkinson
Craft brewer Little Creatures believes the cider market will continue to grow over the coming years, a prediction at odds with that of Coopers earlier this week.
"While it is experiencing substantial growth it is still a small part of the overall market when compared to beer volumes," he said.
"I would say that cider still may turn out to be a short-term trend and that consumers may move onto something new."
But Miles Hull, head of creative development and marketing at Little Creatures – maker of Pipsqueak Cider – told TheShout that cider will continue its growth – "no question".
Hull stressed that Little Creatures has nothing but respect for Coopers, which clearly has valid reasons for sticking to making beer.
But he challenged Glenn Cooper's view that the growth prospects for the cider market are limited.
"I don't think the UK reflects that. In terms of what is going on over there, I would challenge him [Glenn Cooper] on that," Hull said.
"The UK proves that cider is going from strength to strength. And you only need to look to the US in terms of the future of craft brewing."
Little Creatures recently expanded its cider range by releasing Pipsqueak pear cider, alongside the existing Pipsqueak apple cider which is sourced from its brewery at Healesville in Victoria. Little Creatures is also the exclusive Australian distributor of English cider brand, Aspall Cyder.
Hull said cider will continue to grow for as long as the quality of products on the market continues to rise.
"What we have observed is that the artisan or super premium ciders are sustaining massive growth particularly in the UK market," he said.
"At the moment in Australia, a lot of cider is in the mainstream – the potential for the future is a range of quality-driven products that we are not seeing in Australia yet."
"Craft beer on the other hand will continue to broaden its reach in the market with more breweries coming online and that is exciting for Little Creatures – the more people drinking craft beer the better as far as we are concerned," Hull added.
"Cider is not beer – it is its own product and operates very differently."