Czechs get taste of cider

Photo: Sir James, Wikimedia CC BY 3.0

Czechs are growing increasingly fond of cider. Nearly two million litres of the alcoholic beverage was sold in the Czech Republic last year and Czechs spent nearly 130 million crowns on the drink.

Michal Elšík,  photo: personal archive of Michal Elšík
The consumption of cider in May grew by an incredible 376 percent compared to the previous year, according to a recent survey by the consultancy Nielsen which was presented on Wednesday. On the other hand, the sales of Radler, the light-beer-based mixed drink, dropped by a quarter.

According to Nielsen, one litre of cider is currently sold on average for 70 crowns. Nielsen’s Michal Elšík says the most popular brands on the cider market are the British Carling, Czech Kingswood and Danish Sommersby.

Local breweries have responded to the increasing popularity of cider by expanding their offer of ciders. The Prague-based Staropramen Brewery this year introduced two new ciders on the market - cherry and lime and mint flavours.

Illustrative photo: Sir James,  Wikimedia CC BY 3.0
According to the survey, ciders are the fastest growing category among all alcoholic beverages sold in the Czech Republic. The consumption of cider in Europe between 2013 and 2017 is expected to grow by one third.

According to Monika Horáková of the Plzeňský Prazdroj brewery, men and women consume about the same amount of cider and it is mostly consumed by younger drinkers.

According to Prazdroj’s survey, only 15 percent of people were aware of cider at the start of 2014 and only eight percent of them had tasted it. This year, the number of Czechs who tasted cider increased to one third.

Plzeňský Prazdroj brewery came up with the concept of dry cider this year and also started to distribute ciders with various fruit flavours by Swedish producer Kopparberg, one of the best-selling cider brands in the world.

Photo: F. H. Prager
Three out of the four major Czech breweries - Plzeňský Prazdroj, Pivovary Staropramen and Budějovický Budvar, started to produce and distribute cider in recent years. The fourth major player on the market, Heineken, joined in this spring, when they launched distribution of the most popular cider brand, Strongbow.

There are also an increasing number of smaller cider producers, such as F.H. Prager, Rossbach or Mad Apple Cider.

In countries with strong beer culture, such as Britain, the US, Australia and Scandinavia, ciders normally grab around 10 to 15 percent of the beer market.