Katya Witham
Katya Witham is Senior Food & Drink Analyst, identifying and exploring the major trends across various FMCG categories, giving invaluable insights into the German market.

With consumers increasingly looking for special tastes and their beer palates becoming more sophisticated, German beer brands would benefit from exploring the less travelled path and venture into more complex, high-quality and unique flavours. In particular, there is scope to experiment with rotating seasonal beers that take advantage of in-season flavours.

Millennials demand seasonal flavours

Young consumers show the highest interest in seasonal beer flavours, suggesting opportunities for brewers to innovate around limited editions or seasonal varieties. This should appeal to the 39% of 25-34-year-old German beer drinkers who express interest in trying seasonal beer flavours.

Despite demand among the young demographic in Germany, seasonal claims have been a rarity on beer launches in Germany. Limited edition claims are found even less frequently on new introductions, highlighting underused space for seasonal flavour innovation. As consumers are becoming more adventurous, seasonal flavour innovation could offer beer brands a powerful marketing tool to drive uptake among the experimental Millennial generation of beer drinkers.

Added challenge of the “Reinheitsgebot”

Despite the constraints of the German Reinheitsgebot, the rapid development of new flavoured hop varieties can help achieve the desired flavour and aroma characteristics in seasonal beers without breaking boundaries set by the beer purity law. Moreover, the continued popularity of craft and specialty beers in Germany is paving the way for new, higher-quality flavoured beers, where flavour is used to add interesting complexity rather than to create one-note sweet flavoured beer mixes.

With beer consumption in decline in Germany, beer brands will greatly benefit from introducing more sophisticated and innovative beer varieties in order to regain waning consumer attention. Seasonal beer flavours are a good way to appeal to the Millennial love of flavour experimentation and exclusive experiences, while being able to test out new innovation ideas. Brewers would benefit from stepping up the craftsmanship and creativity of brewing, using flavour innovation to create higher-quality specialty beers with more complex aromas.

With a dedicated field of focus on Germany, Katya draws on her comprehensive knowledge of this market to identify and explore the major trends across various FMCG categories. She runs regular field research trips in Germany and brings hands-on experience from her previous role in the strategic development of private label at METRO Group.