Home' Brewers Guardian Digital Magazine : November 2014 Contents clear consumer need for “easy to drink” alcoholic
For such a traditional product, it is interesting that
the practice of adding things to beer to make it
sweeter has been going on for a long time and in
Herbs and spices were often added to beer in
medieval times, both for their beneficial effects and
to mask the flavour of poorer quality beers. Indeed,
it was the adulteration of beer in Germany that
led to the enactment of the Beer Purity Law (the
Reinheitsgebot) in 1516.
In the UK, lemonade has long been added to beer, to
make shandy. There is also the very popular practice
of adding a small amount of lemonade to a pint of
beer. This is often called a “bitter top” or “lager top”.
The custom of adding lemonade to beer also
occurs in France, where the combination is
known as panach, and Germany, where it is called
Alsterwasser or much more commonly Radler.
Belgium has a very long tradition of brewing with
fruit. Cherry beers, known as Kriek, have been
brewed for centuries. Recently other flavours,
such as raspberry (framboise); peach (peche) and
strawberry (fraise) have gained popularity.
Mexico has its own tradition of mixed beers (or
cerveza preparada). The most popular is the
Michelada, a combination of beer, lime; ice and salt.
Worcester sauce (or sometimes Maggi, or chilli
sauce) is also often added. Technically this then
becomes a Cubana, although the term Michelada
is often used for this version as well. Clam juice
and tomato juice can be added to make a Clamato
Despite the relatively long history of flavouring and
mixing beers, the current market development can
be viewed in three phases.
Firstly there was the development of flavoured
beers. This can be traced to 1982 when Brasserie
Fischer launched Adelscott, a malt whisky flavoured
beer. This was followed in 1995 by the launch
of Desperados, a tequila flavoured beer, which
successfully tapped into the increasing popularity of
Latin American culture and following the acquisition
of Fischer by Heineken, in 1996, rapidly grew
internationally. In 2000, SABMiller launched Redd’s,
an apple flavoured beer, in Poland. Redd’s has
grown strongly and has been launched successfully
in many other SABMiller markets.
The second phase was the development of the
Biermixgetranke (beer mix drinks) category
in Germany. Although Radler has existed as a
category in Germany since the beginning of the
20th Century, it was the launch of MiXery (a beer/
cola mix) by Karlsberg Brauerei in 1996 that started
the Biermixgetranke phenomenon. Sales of Mixery
boomed and was soon joined by many other beer
mix brands as almost every major brewing group in
Germany developed their own beer mix.
The most recent phase has been the explosion
of Radlers in East Europe. This most recent trend
started in Hungary in 2010 with the launch of both
Borsodi Friss by StarBev (now Molson Coors) and
Gosser NaturZitrone by Heineken. The success
of these brands soon saw other brewers launch
their own Radlers and, aided by a couple of good
summers in East Europe, the category exploded.
It is too early to say whether these drinks are a
passing trend, or whether the category will become
an established part of the beer market. As discussed
earlier, consumers desire for sweet, easy to drink,
alcohol can be met by a range of different beverages
and the rise and fall of the flavoured alcoholic
beverage market could provide a possible trajectory
for the sector.
These three trends can all be seen as part of a wider
trend towards beer consumers seeking “more bang
for their buck!” Consumers are looking for new
tastes; new experiences; and greater authenticity.
The old cliché that people are “drinking less, but
drinking better” has never been more true.
Kevin Baker is account director, alcoholic beverages
at market research consultancy Canadean Ltd.
These three trends can all be
seen as part of a wider trend
towards beer consumers
seeking “more bang for
their buck!” Consumers are
looking for new tastes; new
experiences; and greater
authenticity. The old cliché
that people are “drinking
less, but drinking better”
has never been more true.
Regional comparative: Asia drives volume, Africa value
Global Beer Market Growth
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