The rise of specialists
All bets are off when it comes to craft beer in 2020, with all manner of fruit, nuts and kitchen sinks featuring in new brews. This, in turn, has generated a new audience of drinkers keen to go down the rabbit hole after it. Beer is never likely to be the same again.
We say this is great – more choice has to be a good thing – but it has led to so much competition within the industry that something has to give. One of the ways in which this can shake out is with specialist breweries – those turning their backs on all but one type of beer and making that as best as they can.
London’s Bohem Brewery and Pillars Brewery both make only lager – the former produces Czech-style lager only – for instance. As the world’s most popular style, their focus makes sense but, as 2020 moves on, look to others to create only dark beers or solely concentrate on India Pale Ale. Putting all your eggs in one basket can give you a great reputation – if it’s earned.
Low and no
There are many different reasons why people are cutting back on booze, but whatever lies behind it, they still want to take part in social occasions. As such, the market for low and no-alcohol drinks is gaining ground.
Currently, it represents less than 5% of the UK beer market, but sales are increasing and we think will break through in 2020. As the last remaining stigmas of drinking less recede, look for more canned, bottled and draught alcohol-free beers in keg appearing this year.
We predict more breweries will add a 0.5% ABV product to their line-up and more will appear that deal exclusively in low-and-no beers – like Suffolk’s Big Drop Brewing Company. For many people low-and-no isn’t so much a trend to follow as a new way of life – after all, beer is something we should all be able to enjoy, whether we want to cut back or cut it out.
Nothing can rival the pub or bar when it comes to drinking beer, but sometimes the draw of the sofa is impossible to resist. Sales of bottled and particularly canned craft beer are on the rise. But there’s another option for those who are after a great beer in the most comfortable environment they know.
The growler is a common sight in other countries. These portable beer jugs are a throwback to stories of local urchins being tasked with collecting beer for people, with the bubbling beer creating a ‘growling’ noise as the pressure leaked out.
But growlers mean you can get the best of both worlds – freshly poured draught beer from the pub, enjoyed at home. They won’t ever replace the pub any more than a pizza on your knees can replace going to a pizzeria, but when you need to stay at home good beer can come to you.
The UK coffee market has grown every year for the past 20 and is currently valued at over £10bn. Look for brewers to increasingly riff off its popularity with more coffee beers this coming year.
They offer a perfect blend, with the roasted, bitter malt a match for dark roasted beans that otherwise find their way into your morning cup. As coffee and beer have much in common, people who love one usually more than appreciate the other, and the addition of coffee to a dark style like porter or stout is a no-brainer – although coffee IPA is also good.
Look for brewers to up the ante and, instead of merely releasing a dark beer with coffee beans in the recipe, go the whole hog. Adding something like vanilla, chocolate or milk sugars (lactose) gives a mocha or latte feel, with all three together resulting in something that wouldn’t be out of place if it were given to you by a barista.