I’m going to put it out there right off the bat. This post will likely be biased, so discussion is encouraged.
A recent report from Time.com has identified a new hottest trend in craft beer. From a recent Mintel research piece it’s confirmed that (in the US) there has been an 80% rise in flavoured beers being brewed. Flavoured beers. Fruit flavoured beers.
And the first line of that report?
Surprise — it has to do with millennials
Firstly, I object. Secondly, apparently the data is there so I can’t really argue – and I’m not exactly top candidate as the voice of the generation…
Why does fruit beer exist?
So rant aside, this is actually quite interesting data. According to the report, 27% of new beers on the market last year were flavoured – that’s more than a quarter of all commercial brews in the US which is not an insignificant amount. “The Beer Institute study found that the beer industry as a whole – encompassing brewers, distributors, retailers and importers – contributed $252.6 billion to the U.S. economy last year.” (Fortune.com). Where is this demand for fruity, sweet beer coming from?
Over the last few years there have been big moves to get more women into beer and, according to the research, “women between the ages of 22 and 34 were the most avid consumers of flavored beers” accounting for almost 40% of consumption. For the industry as a whole this is great, a bigger market means more money! But… A bigger market also means changing desires which usually leads to changes and innovation in products, which is usually not a bad thing until you read the following:
Meanwhile, the importance of flavored beer is confirmed by the fact that 57 percent of beer drinkers who increased their beer consumption in 2015 credit this increase to a wider availability of flavors. Overall, as many as three in five (58 percent) US alcohol drinkers say they are interested in fruit flavored beer, with other flavors such as spicy (45 percent) tart/sour (45 percent) and beer blended with juice, tea and soft drinks (49 percent) also showing strong potential.
Beer mixed with tea, juice or soft drinks?!
I should have been born 30 years earlier.
What’s in store for the UK and this wily fruit beer?
Obvs, this is all US data. All I could find after a (admittedly rapid) Google is a nod to the “surge in popularity” by The Guardian back in 2012. The outlook is grim:
In the last year sales of flavoured beers have grown by 80%, according to market research group AC Nielsen, making it the fastest-growing UK beer sector. It is predicting that it is set to expand further over the next few years as more breweries respond to consumer demand.
Anecdotally, I have noticed a few more fruity-flavoured beers popping up. Even seeing a few on tap here and there, but it is only here and there. If I were to hazard a guess and what I would deem a safe bet by brewers, even though it goes against every fibre of my sweet-averse tastebuds, I would like to see more fruit beers pop up. Especially for local microbrews to lead the way, to involve more women into the beer scene and just to experiment and play with new recipes and blends. I’d say by summer 2017 we’ll have a range in pubs and supermarkets of fruit beers to rival what Kopparberg has done for ‘cider’.
But please, please, please. Don’t mix it with friggin’ tea.
If you actually enjoy fruit beer and fancy a challenge, I welcome anyone to try and change my mind. Drop me a comment!