In October, Irish cider giant C&C group ponied up $305 million to buy Vermont Hard Cider, the company that makes Woodchuck. To put that number in perspective, the owner of Vermont Hard Cider bought the company in 2003 for $2.3 million. That’s a 132-fold increase in the company’s value over nine years.
In the midst of the cider boom, American alcohol companies are seeking to get into the apple game. In April, The Boston Beer Company, makers of Sam Adams, launched Angry Orchard hard cider nationally. The company’s third-quarter report says sales of the new product are strong.
What’s the reason for this sweet success? A recent article in TIME suggests that the popularity of craft beer has made consumers more adventurous and more willing to try new products. Cider also benefits from popularity among women: “Whereas 80 percent of beer companies’ consumers are male, cider is gender-neutral, opening up a market in which beer players have struggled,” the article quotes from a 2011 Nomura Equity Research report.