In the 2021 National Liquor News Industry Leaders Forum, the new and former Presidents of Cider Australia shared their thoughts on the potential of the local cider category.
With little more than a month behind him at the helm of Cider Australia (at the time of writing), new President Warwick Billings of Lobo Cider is hitting the ground running for the country’s cider producers.
Billings officially began the role as of January 1 this year, taking over from Willie Smith’s Sam Reid, who Billings commended for his hard work and achievements, noting how it sets the stage for great success in the future.
“I’m looking forward to taking this momentum and keeping it rolling. My take will obviously be slightly different, but it’s fair to say that the craft cider community has pretty consistent overall goals,” Billings said.
“It’s an exciting space as there is so much room to bring things along. We are seeing cider growing up as a category in Australia, with classic ciders, new ciders, and old styles being made more contemporary. The market and consumers are appreciating this.”
Some of the highlights of 2020 for Cider Australia that make Billings confident in the category’s longevity include the successful roll out of the Cider Australia trust mark, which is found on cider products genuinely made with 100 per cent Australian apples. That’s in addition to a range of additional promotional materials that educate people about what makes Australian cider unique.
“I think an important area for us to keep focussed on is the ‘live local, support local’ vibe. We have great cider here in Australia, it suits us, there is regional production in every apple-growing state, and opportunities to visit and learn through cellar doors and other activities are growing,” Billings described.
“Cider is here, and is bigger than before. It is being taken more seriously, and a broader range of people are drinking a broader range of ciders. I think we are moving in all the right directions. We just need to keep reinforcing the strengths of good 100 per cent Australian ciders.”
Thoughts of an outgoing president
After spending six and a half years as President of Cider Australia, Sam Reid is excited for the future of the organisation and sector.
Reid has seen the proliferation of trends revolving around authenticity and the ‘better for you’ movement, and believes that the cider sector can effectively meet these changing demands of customers. He knows this first-hand, having helped create initiatives such as the 100% Australian Grown trust mark and Australian Cider Day.
“I feel confident in the direction Cider Australia has helped move the category and that our members are well set up to provide the types and styles of beverages that drinkers are increasingly gravitating towards,” Reid said.
“The future looks bright for cider and I can’t wait to see where we go from here.”
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