By ceding control of distribution for Strongbow to Heineken, Vermont Hard Cider is making a strong and smart strategic move.
Photo Credit: Dave Linger
Recently the Wall Street Journal reported that Vermont Hard Cider, who manufacturers and markets the domestic Woodchuck Hard Cider brand is giving control of Strongbow, the #2 cider brand by sales in the US to the Dutch brewer Heineken. Here is a link to that article.
This is a classic strategy play, give up market share to grow the market for everyone. Clearly Heineken will back Strongbow with more marketing dollars than Vermont Hard Cider could have provided, benefiting Strongbow, and likely taking share from the Woodchuck brand. However, some estimate that the Hard Cider market could grow 4X over the next 5 years, and with the marketing budgets of international brewers such as Heineken, you can bet more drinkers will seek hard cider in their stores. Woodchuck Hard Cider, the current US market leader, with 24% of the US hard cider market, will likely benefit from the increasing American appetite for hard cider.