Major Brewers Changing Tack Due To Changing Tastes And Habits

After a long week at work, the perfect way to unwind is a nice, cold beer – perhaps with a bag of nuts or some potato chips, for many. But with people becoming more health conscious and starting to drink less, tut tastes are changing.

For example, roughly 10.6 million people or 20.9 percent of the total population is the number and percentage of teetotalers in 2016 in the U.K. According to the Office for National Statistics, this represents an increase of around two percentage points since 2005.

A lot of us are plumping for more specialized, craft types of beer, when we do decide to drink.

“It’s quite an interesting market at the moment, a quite difficult market,” Jonny Forsyth, global drinks analyst at Mintel, said.

“We’re seeing that people are starting to drink less alcohol,” Forsyth added. “So we’re seeing the decline in beer volumes. However, the bright spot for the market is that people are starting to drink better and be prepared to pay more for better quality.”

“Premiumization” is the term that is used to refer to the idea of paying more for a better quality beer. Amid what has become, for some, an increasingly homogenized market and offering a tantalising taste of authenticity is craft beer which is at the heart of this.

“A big direction for premiumization is this interest in craft,” Forsyth said. “So, wanting something that really tastes quite distinctive that no one else has perhaps tasted, that makes you quite unique and your experience quite unique,” he added.

“Craft brands are seen as small, seen as small batch, they’re seen as independents and therefore the antithesis of these global multinational brewers.”

Larger brewers are looking to acquire smaller ones and that is perhaps no surprise.

“What they’re already starting doing is buying up some of these smaller craft breweries and not really shouting about it to the consumer,” Forsyth said.

A kind of balancing act, where big brewers were attempting to scale up craft outfits whilst at the same time, “trying not to get too involved, trying to keep their independence so that… what consumers like about them is retained,” was explained by him.

Changes in drinking habits are viewed with interest at Heineken, one of the world’s best known brewers. An avenue the business is looking to both buy and develop from within is consumers’ growing taste for craft beers.

“We may in some cases choose to acquire and we’re very happy to have Lagunitas as part of our family,” Jan Derck van Karnebeek, Heineken’s chief commercial officer, told Marketing Media Money. “But we also have brands which can venture into this craft space in a credible way,” he added.
Jan Derck van Karnebeek was also positive when turning to the idea of premiumization,

“For us, premiumization is a worldwide opportunity,” he said. “It is more about the quality than the quantity which, we think, is also right from an industry perspective,” he went on to state.

(Adapted from CNBC)

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