It's been years of challenges for craft breweries. Despite all the difficulties, brewers do what they do best, they tend to create and bring to market innovative beverages that will engage consumers and keep coming back. Enlisting some of the trends that will fuel the imagination and resilience of the craft brewing industry 2021 and further. 2021 has led to expansion of taproom-boom with the arrival of innovative trends by the newly opened breweries.
Evolution in Brew Styles and Flavors
Brewers have established a foothold in craftsmanship around the world as more and more people discovered their distinctive tastes. Their appeal is to beer drinkers who want to try something new, as well as people who would not normally call themselves beer drinkers, but who like to try different flavours and labels. As craft brewers push through one of the most trying years in recent history, they lean on the creativity and innovation of an industry fuelled by passionate, talented people who are striving to be the best at what they do.
The increasing demand for low alcoholic beverages and craft beer has also led to a high demand of exotic fruity flavours in brews.Beer lovers are willing tospend even more to savour their choice of taste as for instance: Mango Cider Beer, Caramel Craft beer and many more have. This has led to the premiumisation of the craft beer industryin terms of quality, flavours for consumers and business opportunities for the brewers. Brewers are also seeing potential and experimenting with barrel aged beers. They are also trying to infuse it with different type alcohol to bring out exceptional variants. Whiskey beer is one combination that catching the attention lately that’s prepared by aging beer in whiskey barrels.
Packaging Alterations and Storytelling through design
The beer packaging market in the Asia-Pacific region is mainly driven by changing cultural trends, growing populations, urbanisation, and the growing popularity of beer among the younger lot.
Due to various investments and the increasing diffusion of beer in different regions, changing trends is expected to continue in this region, which in turn can stimulate the packaging market. Craft beer labels are carefully designed and therefore the competition is always fierce.
The introduction of growlers, sustainable cups/glasses/mugs have enabled taprooms and microbreweries also to increase their sales from delivery and takeaway. It helps connect with the audience through unique and quirky packaging.
Beer brands are trying to connect through mascots, and in 2021 storytelling is an essential part of any good brand - done right, it can communicate who you are and what you stand for. It helps addressing the brands their ideal customers.The use of AI has brought in a new dimension in the craft beer industryunique catchy packaging ideas such as inclusion of QR codes for consumer to read about the brand DNA by leading them to brand’s website/social/menu or bring in quirky trends which make the customers feel inclusive and connected.
Future of Sustainability
Manufacturers will strive to meet consumer inclination towards sustainable and functional packaging formats, and conscious product offerings.
Consumers are seen to be concerned about the sustainability of beverage packaging and industry. 89% of the companies surveyed deducting their wish to incorporate eco-friendly and reusable measures to their production and packaging. Reusing the cans and glass bottles by sending them back to the packaging production is being adapted.
Innovative Social Media strategies or campaign
With social media continuing to dominate, beverage brands are adapting to the current climate andradically rethinking their core messages while communicating with consumers on social media.Brands are coming up with hashtag campaigns, giveaways, barter collaborations and marketing their breweries/beers in a way that bring in more customers and bring back the crowd which will help them market it through their social media itself. There has been a noticeable boost in customer interaction, reaching out to consumers along with enhancement in visibility and search-ability of brands through their innovative marketing campaigns.
It has also resulted in an open discussion about interests, preferences, awareness through social media groups and chat rooms available online. The collaborative promotions such as one between beer brand and barware or clothing etc. featuring an entire range of products significant to the collaborating brand gain a lot of digital traction in terms of geographical reach and engagement. To name one Bira91 & Nicobar collaboration was very interesting. Such association & collaborations takes craft beer into an entirely new direction making it more fashionable, trendy and contemporary.
Popularity of the IPAs
India Pale Ales (IPAs) remain the ‘king of the craft’ and brewers continue to add innovative offerings to the hop filler category. The year 2021 has also witnessed agrowing appetite for softer, less bitter, and juicy IPAs. Brewers continue to experiment with sour/sour IPAs and that contain lactose.IPAs are still successful and consumers expect to see more IPA innovations on the horizon.
Everlasting Seltzers/No or Low Alcohol beverages
Whether anyone agrees or not, hard Seltzers don't seem to be going back anytime soon. It's no longer just the big national players who come into play. Along with non-breweries such as distilleries, wineries, and soft drinks manufacturers are also trying their hand. As Seltzer step into the limelight, more and more breweries see Seltzers as a viable threat to the light beer segment (below 100 calories) competing for limited shelves &cooler space to move away from traditional beer.
Innovation in the hard seltzer market continues to accelerate with a wider range of flavours, lower calorie and functional formulations, and variety of cocktail-inspired rarities.On the ingredient side, more and more suppliers, from traditional beer to non-alcoholic taste houses, are throwing their hats into the ring.
Also, a lot of people reduce alcohol for health and other reasons, hence, the market is responding with a wider range of offers with little or no alcohol. Brewers also markets non-alcoholic, hoppy and non-beer beverages.