GuestMetrics: Ciders such as Angry Orchard and Strongbow continue to outpace overall beer category

A glass of Angry Orchard is drawn at the Yard House bar. File photo. Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff.
A glass of Angry Orchard is drawn at the Yard House bar. File photo. Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff.Credit:

While the overall beer category has had a “difficult year” so far, cider continues to outpace beer on the strength of such cider brands as Angry Orchard, Strongbow, and Stella Artois Cidre, according to GuestMetrics LLC.

(Angry Orchard is a cider sister brand to the Samuel Adams brand marketed by Boston Beer Co. A recent Globe story took note of how Angry Orchard has won many fans.)

It’s hard to imagine beer losing popularity. (What? Have large numbers of young men suddenly come to their senses?) But that’s a possibility. About beer losing popularity, anyway.

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GuestMetrics, a Virginia firm that monitors check-level data from more than 10,000 restaurants, said a recent analysis of “on-premise” 2013 sales through early November showed that the beer category is underperfroming the wine and spirits categories.

One bright spot: The cider category continues to “display exceptional strength,” with volumes up 53 percent year-to-date and 52 percent during the third quarter, GuestMetrics said.

Of course, the firm is quick to point out how small the cider segment is relative to the rest of beer, at around 1 percent of the total beer category volumes. 

Based on its analysis, GuestMetrics says cider has an opportunity to grow. About 70 percent of bars and nightclubs now sell cider, but to date, it is less likely to turn up on the drink menus of fine-dining establishments and casual-dining restaurants.

“The lower penetration among restaurants could represent a significant opportunity in terms of future growth in cider,” GuestMetrics said.