Boston Beer Taps Former Seattle Cider President as New Angry Orchard Brand Strategist

Boston Beer Company has named Caitlin Braam, who departed Seattle Cider Company and Two Beers Brewing as president last August, as a “brand strategist” for its Angry Orchard Hard Cider line.

“Cider is my passion and this is an incredible opportunity for me to help grow awareness of the cider industry overall, as well as have a bigger impact within the cider community,” Braam told Brewbound.

In the newly created position, Braam — who led Seattle Cider through a period of rapid growth and expansion before the company was sold to Agrial Group, a French agribusiness cooperative – will be tasked with driving education and engagement for an Angry Orchard brand that struggled to grow in 2017.

According to market research firm IRI Worldwide, off-premise sales of Angry Orchard’s flagship offering, Crisp Apple, declined 2.6 percent last year.

But Braam, who has been active in the cider space since 2011, is hopeful that Boston Beer’s innovation efforts at a 60-acre orchard and cidery in Walden, New York, will not only help stoke growth but also help attract new drinkers to the cider category.

“The cider makers at Angry Orchard are doing some incredible development and experimentation — both at the Angry Orchard in Walden, New York, and for their ciders available nationally — and I am looking forward to helping the team grow the category for Angry Orchard and all cider makers,” she said.

During its third-quarter earnings call, Boston Beer CEO Martin Roper, who will retire this year, said the company’s “number one priority” was to once again grow sales of Angry Orchard, the largest cider brand in the U.S.

“Our number one priority is returning both Samuel Adams and Angry Orchard to growth through continued packaging, innovation, promotion and brand communication initiatives,” he said at the time.

In doing so, and in an effort to capture a slice of booming Rosé wine sales, which grew 40 percent in 2017, according to MillerCoors, citing Nielsen data, Boston Beer will launch its own Rosé cider nationally this year.

“We are excited by our planned national launch of Angry Orchard Rosé cider as we hope to attract new drinkers to the category,” Roper said during the earnings call. “This launch will be integrated into our new campaign reinforcing occasions, innovation, and quality.”

With the launch of its Rosé cider, Boston Beer will be going head-to-head with MillerCoors-owned Crispin Cider, which also launched a Rosé cider on January 1.

Braam, who will be based in Seattle and work to “stimulate growth” for the Angry Orchard brand as well as the cider category, said she believes products like Rosé cider can help bridge the gap between wine drinkers and cider drinkers while simultaneously creating new drinking occasions.

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