More than half (57%) of beer and cider consumers in the Asia-Pacific region found new experiences more exciting than new products, suggesting that future success may depend more on finding ways to deliver new “consumption memories” rather than flooding the market with new products.
Digital media company GlobalData’s Snapshot of Beer and Cider Innovation Trends report stated that overloading the consumer with choice has devalued the ‘craft’ concept and as a result, drinkers are shifting towards more immersive, individual and personalised experiences instead of seeking out “overpriced novelties”.
This was reflected in the survey findings, which found 46% of consumers in Asia-Pacific, the area that includes countries such as China, the Philippines and Australia, said marketing buzzwords such as ‘craft’ and ‘artisanal production’ were just an excuse for manufacturers to charge extra for alcoholic beverages.
GlobalData innovation insights director Tom Vierhile said: “Craft beer may have become too mainstream for its own good and overuse of the word ‘craft’ could lead to a consumer backlash.
“Consumers do remain open to new consumption experiences and are also making healthier choices. We could easily see the industry pivot towards this innovation pillar in the months and years to come.”
The company found that Asia-Pacific consumers are much more likely than global consumers to focus on health claims when making alcoholic beverage choices.
Some 51% of Asia-Pacific said they found health claims to be influential when choosing which alcoholic drinks to enjoy v just 38% of consumers globally, according GlobalData.
Vierhile said: “Consumers, especially younger consumers, are increasingly drawn to more healthy food and drink options and this will influence beer and cider innovation over time.
“Consumers still want to treat themselves and there are plenty of opportunities for products that target special occasions or are intended to be served with specific meals.
“To boost sales in a struggling global market, beer and cider makers may have to explore a wider range of innovation opportunities ranging from non-alcoholic products to beer or cider products that offer better portion control and a more unique experience.”
While this trend is happening internationally, closer to home, one licensee told The Morning Advertiser how the high cost of craft beer is “pricing out” drinkers on lower incomes.
Limited disposable income
Iain Chambers, who runs Brighton pub the Bevy said: “We are a community-owned pub on a low-income housing estate.
“We lot of our customers have limited disposable income. We always try to be accessible – price wise – keeping it as low as possible across the board without discounting.
“But we are also a Brighton Living Wage employer so we pay all our bar staff £8.75 an hour, which can be as much as £3 more than they will earn in a pub in town.
“If the £5 pint becomes the standard for craft beer, then that will be it for craft beer as far as our community is concerned because they don’t have the money for it.”
Chambers acknowledged the higher cost of ingredients that go into producing craft beer, but also made the point that breweries needed to do more if they want to appeal to a broader audience.