There are many outcomes that are presenting themselves across the Australian drinks landscape as a result of the premiumisation trend.
The growth of craft across all categories, a deeper understanding of ingredients and processes and consumer understanding around the story and provenance of products and brands are all factors now.
This has fuelled the explosion of craft beer and craft spirits, but arguably cider is one category that has experienced the most mammoth changes as a result of premiumisation, the subsequent outcomes and increased consumer knowledge.
Many mainstream cider brands use imported concentrates and add sugar and sweeteners for flavour, and while this was accepted by consumers for a long time, as their knowledge grew and they realised what they were drinking the desire for something different increased.
And so the seeds for Australia’s craft cider category were planted. Now, not only have those seeds grown but they have developed into an outstanding Australian craft cider market, producing ciders that taste different, taste like cider should taste and engage with consumer demands for premium, high quality, well-produced brands with provenance.
One such brand, the leading craft cider brand in NSW, is Bilpin Cider Co; a brand with provenance that is underpinned with a successful Cellar Door operation and a farm which welcomes more than 30,000 visitors every year.
Bilpin Cider Co was founded in 2011 by Sean Prendergast, a 15-year industry veteran who used the knowledge and experience gained in various marketing and sales roles to see the opportunity to create an Australian craft cider made from freshly crushed apples.
“The vast majority of cider brands then, and still to this day, are made from apple concentrate, syrup and water, with sugar added as required,” Prendergast said.
“This presented an opportunity for a craft brand like Bilpin Cider Co. to create a range of cider products by using only freshly crushed apples from available fruit around the region; this included Granny Smiths and Pink Lady apples.
“The result was that we were able to provide consumers with such a uniquely different tasting product to the mainstream commercial brands, and it had immediate success.
“We are very proud of the fact that all of our product is made from freshly crushed fruit with no added sugar and it is gluten free. Today we have over 500 distribution points on NSW.”
From creating the brand, the Bilpin Cider Co story developed with a property purchase in Bilpin in 2013 where a new orchard was planted. In 2016 the Cellar Door was opened and in addition to an extensive cider tasting experience, visitors can enjoy food with picnics on the grounds,, beautiful gardens and engage with friendly sheep and alpacas.
The other factor that has helped to fuel Bilpin Cider Co’s success and growth has been innovation, and as Prendergast says, they were one of the first brands to produce a non-alcoholic cider.
“Our innovation in new product development has been a feature of our range,” he said.
“The launch of Bilpin Blush Pink Lady Cider was the first naturally sweet cider brand made from freshly crushed apples – by using the sweetest apples we could source (Pink Lady) and keeping the ferment low we were able to deliver the perfect flavour without adulterating the product.
“We were also one of the first brands to create a non-alcoholic cider and Bilpin Non Alcoholic cider is one of our leading sales lines. Again no added sugar, gluten free and using only freshly crushed apples, is a key point of difference to the more commercial mainstream cider offerings.”
This spring sees further innovation with the launch of Bilpin Archibald High n Dry, which at 6.8 per cent ABV is high in alcohol, dry in style and low in carbs. There are also two new non-alcoholic varieties with Apple & Ginger and Apple & Raspberry filling out the portfolio.
Prendergast adds: “Our customers have indicated a demand for more varieties and we have delivered with two new fantastic flavours.”
With one of the strongest Australian craft cider ranges available, supported by premium products, great provenance and really strong engagement with consumers through its Cellar Door and farm, Bilpin Cider Co is a great story. The team has challenged the concentrate-driven category and is finding great success not only with cider drinkers, but also with craft beer drinkers looking for well-crafted products that can deliver spring and summer refreshment.
To find out more about the range, and about how you can bring this Australian craft cider brand to your customers, contact Sean Prendergast on email@example.com or head to the Bilpin Cider Co website.