In 2015, global beer volume growth turned negative for the first time in over a decade.
Across much of the world, the general consumer trend towards quality rather than quantity is having an impact on standard lager volumes.
Dark beer remains the most dynamic category due to the enduring popularity of the craft trend.
Stout is the fastest growing type of beer globally, recording a 5.8% growth in global consumption in 2016, with China set to overtake the USA as the largest stout market in 2017.
The Chinese stout market is booming, growing from 4.5 million liters in 2008 to 191.5 million liters in 2016 to reach 659 million liters in 2021.
Euromonitor International’s senior analyst Spiros Malandrakis highlights below the key trends that are set to shape the global beer market.
Microbrewing: From high hops to turf war
In mature western markets, with city councils and local authorities currently funding craft projects as lavish centerpieces of their ambitious urban gentrification initiatives, private equity ultimately pushing for returns on their once ‘angelic’ investments and major retailers adding their own fantasy brands to already overflowing aisles, the sense of irrational exuberance is palpable.
As tongue-in-cheek, controversial or post ironic brand names dry out faster than a shipment of cascade hops back in 2015, once noble competition will turn to fierce antagonism. The continued march of canned offerings, a renewed emphasis on brewpubs and taprooms, a shift to more sessionable segments and away from the ubiquity of IPAs will be the weapons of choice for the upcoming battle to gain a foothold on a national level and beyond respective localities. That race towards the middle ground will define the next chapters in microbrewing’s evolution while inevitably leaving casualties on the side-lines.
On the other hand, the micro trend is still in its infancy in emerging markets where it has not yet been tainted by commoditization and the metropolitan centers of China, India and Brazil will fully embrace hyper local alternatives- all the while providing the potential for the cross-pollination of styles, brewing techniques and ingredients.
Homebrewing; The next frontier
With table-top devices democratizing the home-brewing process and macro brewers incorporating the segment in their strategic plans for vertical integration, nano and home have the potential to become the new micro. Connectivity, customization, affordability and an open architecture will be key for home brewing appliances to cross into the mainstream.
Collaborations and support by as wide a range of brewers as possible, flexibility in ingredients and synergies allowing for experimentation and personalization will be the deciding factors in unlocking the segment’s full, untapped potential.
Imports: Another brick in the wall?
As nationalistic undercurrents reshape the political discourse across the globe, alliances are broken or reassessed and trade barriers, walls and punitive taxation initiatives are rearing their heads – imports are on the firing line.
Historically providing a much needed shot in the arm for mature or saturated markets beyond the much vaunted micro segment, imports can prove to be among the victims of the confrontational rhetoric and growing distrust towards the offerings of globalization monopolizing the public sphere in their respective markets.
Spiros Malandrakis, is senior analyst, Alcoholic Drinks, Euromonitor International.
BeverageDaily and drinktec are collaborating to present a lively beer forum at drinktec (Munich, September 11-15). Drawing on the expertise of 16 speakers from across the beer industry, the forum will run every day of the show at the place2beer area. Find the full program here.