Global volume sales of beer continue to remain stubbornly flat as many drinkers seek to cut down on their alcohol intake, especially in the European market. The greatest challenge for the beer industry is the rise of health and wellness, influencing consumers across Europe, North America and in emerging markets like Latin America and Asia.
However, while many consumers are seeking to drink less beer, they are increasingly happy to trade up quantity for higher quality, hence the continued rise of craft and specialty beers which charge drinkers a considerable price premium. Craft is becoming a global mainstream trend and ordering a beer is no longer a simple task. Global beer drinkers are increasingly choosing between different types of beer such as lager, ale, and porters/stouts; and on a more micro-level, choosing from specific styles of ale in particular, but also specific styles of lager and porter/stout, e.g. the India Pale Ale (IPA), Pilsner, or Imperial Stout.
As with wine, this is helping to elevate consumer perceptions of the product, showcasing beer’s complexity and sophistication. A wide variety of styles also allows beer drinkers to choose what best suits their palate, their meal type, or the specific occasion. More choice also has the potential to recruit new consumers, many of whom previously thought of beer as something generic-tasting and not for them. Finally, it is also allowing producers to keep experimental Millennial drinkers engaged with the category.
Another growth avenue for brewers is sweeter-tasting “near-beer” segments such as beers with added flavours or soft drinks, ciders, and flavoured malt beverages. Such flavour innovation appeals to the Millennial “sweet tooth” and their desire for more flavour intensity, in contrast to the milder taste of most mainstream unflavoured beers.
Finally, as consumers become increasingly environmentally conscious, beer brands are extending eco-friendly commitments beyond recyclable packaging and introducing beer made with upcycled ingredients.
Using Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD), we highlight 10 beers launched in markets around the world in 2017 that have tapped into these new growth opportunities:
1. Baden Baden Kaffee Cerveja Tipo Coffee Beer (Coffee Beer), Brazil:
This coffee flavoured beer is said to be the result of the perfect union of two award-winning varieties of coffee, Acaiá and Bourbon, harmonized with the light bitterness of hops and malt. It has a dark beige, creamy foam, and is said to harmonize well with tiramisu, chocolate-based desserts, smoked pork, and semi hard cheeses.
2. Mack Mikrobryggeri Belgisk Dubbel (Belgian Double Beer), Norway:
The manufacturers create a new music playlist for every batch; this one was brewed whilst listening to Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, Ron Gallo, Royal Blood, and Knutsen & Ludvigsen and consumers can access the Spotify playlist through a QR code on the label. As they claim, “with good music you will get happy yeast and with the yeast happy - you get good beer!”
3. Birra Moretti La Rossa Birra Doppio Malto (Double Malt Beer), Italy:
This internationally award winning beer is prepared with a special quality of Italian burnished barley malt, which adds notes of caramel and licorice to its flavour. The new packaging highlights the fact that this product is made using renewable energy from solar panels. According to Mintel, around 26% of global beers launched in 2017 carried ethical or environmentally-friendly claims.
4. Brasseurs du Monde Strong Rice Beer, Canada:
This Japan-inspired, partially filtered beer is made with exotic ingredients such as rice, sake, yeast, Sorachi Ace Japanese hops, white wine must, and a little wasabi. The rice gives it a cloudiness that the Japanese call ‘nigori’, as well as the texture of a full-bodied white wine. The main flavours are rather fruity, but with the pungent character of wasabi.
5. Lake Effect Brewing Company Inland Seas Series Blueberry Berlinerweisse Style Ale, USA:
Blueberries are ubiquitous in Michigan and Ontario and provide the colour, sweetness, and acidic complexity to this light bodied tart ale. Blueberries are added in both the boil and in secondary fermentation. This beer is part of a series of eight that represents the Great Lakes of North America: each beer is inspired by the characteristics and mood of each lake, featuring ingredients from the surrounding area.
6. Krug Bier Cerveja de Jambu (Jambu Beer), Brazil:
A summer ale inspired by the tropical climate of the Amazon, this pure malt beer is said to be refreshing and tasty, with its Ella hop providing an explosion of aromas with notes of passionfruit and mango. The presence of the Brazilian herb jambu gives a subtle tingling and numbing effect on the tongue and a mouth-watering sensation.
7. InStock Bammetjes Bier (Leftover Loaf Beer), Netherlands:
Instock is a Dutch social enterprise which aims to reduce food waste and create awareness on the issue. After opening three restaurants, a food truck, and a catering service, they launched a Pale Ale style beer made with “rescued” potatoes and, more recently, a wheat beer made from leftover bread, the second most wasted product in the Netherlands.
8. And Union Unfiltered Lager, South Africa:
Unfiltered and unpasteurised beers tap strongly into the modern trend for more natural, less processed food and drink products. While filtering allows brewers to remove yeast or sediment from the raw beer, giving it a bright clarity, pasteurisation heats up the beer to remove any micro-organisms which survived filtering, increasing the beer’s lifespan. However, the downside for the consumer is that pasteurisation and filtering are thought to compromise flavour and freshness.
9. Not Your Mom's Apple Pie Beer, China:
This dessert brew is said to have the perfect balance of sweetness and tartness, and has an unmistakable taste of nostalgia. It contains apple juices, and is brewed with cinnamon and real vanilla from Madagascar.
10. Bruno Ribaldi Birra Siciliana, Italy:
This artisanal, re-fermented and unfiltered beer is brewed with "Perciasacchi" wheat, Sicilian citrus fruit peels, and pink peppercorn, and is characterised by a sour flavour, with the typical Sicilian citrus scent. It is claimed to be ideal for street food, meat, oven baked pasta, or pasta with anchovies.
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