The brewery industry is subject to trends, just like any other industry, and keeping up with them is important if you want to stay relevant. These are the trends which industry experts have predicted for 2018 – and beyond.
The rise of choice
Choice is going to be the keyword for 2018. Consumers want to try a lot of different options, so flagship brands will continue to decline in favour of independent labels. In order to keep up, small breweries need to bring out new flavours at least a few times a year and consider doing special limited edition flavours. They should also invest in marketing to ensure that they are stocked in bars, restaurants, pubs, and stores.
High-quality fruit brewing
Using fruit in barrel-aged and funky beers has been a trend that we saw rising in 2017. Throughout 2018, it will take shape all the more. High-quality fruit and exotic or unusual flavours are going to be key to help brewers to stand out. There is a lot of diversity on offer here, so independents should be creative and really go all-out on their own answers to this trend.
Creation of milkshake IPAs
Adding lactose sugars to already-creamy IPAs is going to create a range of thick and creamy IPAs that are more like milkshakes. This is a real taste sensation and a huge trend that breweries should not ignore. Customers will be looking for oats, vanilla, and high-pectin varieties of fruit along with fruity hops. The jury is out on how long this trend will last, but initial forays suggest that consumers will be going wild for these new blends.
Brands are also expected to focus more strongly on their visual identities this year. This means strong and bold designs which will tell consumers everything they need to know about the brand from looking at labels and marketing. Beer selections are constantly rotating, so breweries need to stand out. They can’t simply allow a plain design to advertise the beer and let the taste speak for itself. If the branding isn’t strong, consumers won’t choose the beer – and they will never experience the taste. Breweries are expected to lean more heavily on artwork, and bring in artists to the creative design process much more than previously.
With all of these new beer types on the market, some breweries are also leading a trend that takes us back to retro basics. Creating a strong, simple beer that harks back to early days work in a brewery’s favour. Having new styles as an adaptation of an “original” flavour will give consumers a reference point that they understand, as well as creating a strong foundation for brand identity.