5 things you never knew you could do with beer

August 8, 2014
5 min read

Summer’s here and many are hitting the local bar or pub gardens to enjoy the weather and a fine craft ale or refreshing lager. And with the rise of craft breweries worldwide, the global beer industry is getting more and more innovative. Along with the US, countries as diverse as Brazil and China are leading the way here. For instance, Brazilian craft brewers are using flavours like the tangy bacuri fruits and the fragrant amburana wood to combat the country’s shortage of hops. But flavour isn’t the only way that the beer industry is innovating, and the pint glass is no longer the only way to enjoy a brew – with these products, a wafer cone or fresh cheese and crackers may even be more appropriate.

Frozen Pints

Currently only available in and around Atlanta, Frozen Pints are mixing your two summer favourites, craft beer and ice cream. With six flavours to choose between, from the hoppy Honey IPA to Malted Milk Chocolate Stout, this offers consumers an indulgent summer treat option.

Alcoholic ice cream has been a niche but growing trend for a while, with alcohol being an ingredient in around 2% of global new ice cream product launches seven years ago, rising to nearer 4% in 2013. It’s looking good for Frozen Pints too, as both the ice cream and craft beer sectors are forecasted to grow in the years to come.

OnTap Beer Enhancer

While the leading purchase driver among craft beer drinkers is style and taste, more than 4 out of 5 US craft beer drinkers (83%) are also drinking non-craft beer. OnTap have created a solution to blend the two preferences. OnTap is a liquid flavour enhancer to add to domestic light lager in order to enjoy a craft brew without paying the premium. One small bottle of the OnTap concentrate will be enough to transform the flavour of a full 18 pack of 12oz. beers. Currently in flavours American Ale and Pale Ale, and with plans to extend the range, it is up to you how much you add to your beer – and therefore the strength of flavour you create.

Spreadable Beer

The Italian duo, Alta Quota Brewery and chocolatier Pietro Napoleone have come together to create Birra Spalmabile, spreadable beer. Made with two fifths of ale, this is not the first time that a non-liquid beer has been attempted in Europe, but its the first time it’s been achieved. And it’s an idea that makes sense too, while the Italian beer market is projected to grow by only 0.5% in 2014, savoury spreads are boosting volume sales all over Europe due to the move into the snacking space.

Birra Spalmabile is available in both blonde (Greta) and dark (Omid). Greta is sweet, with tones of pear and apparently couples best with seasoned cheeses, while Omid pairs best with fresh cheese and has a much more intense beer flavour. But being used as a spread is not Birra Spalmabile’s only fate, as co-owner of Alta Quota Emanuela Laurenzi explains, she’s also made some great cakes and a delicious tart with it too.

Polar Beer: The Cell Phone Nullifier

Beer is by far the favourite alcoholic beverage in Brazil, which is easily the largest beer market in Latin America, and 3rd largest in the world. Over the last year Brazilian consumers managed to drink the equivalent of 66 litres per capita of beer.

And as the mobile phone market also continues to grow, Polar Beer is all about trying to keep the conversation flowing as well as the beer. They’ve produced a beer cooler that promises to block all GSM, wifi, 3G and 4G within 1.5 metres to help kick the habit of sitting in a bar and having more interaction with your phone than with your friends.

It’s not the first time that Brazil has waged war on the smartphone addiction. The Offline Glass, first introduced in São Paulo, had half of the bottom cut out so that in order for the glass to balance, a phone had to be wedged underneath. A poorly timed text could therefore send the beer all over the table and phone, making the disconnection a bit more permanent. With Polar’s creation, at least that text won’t cost you a new phone or your conversation.

Kirin Frozen Beer Head

Ice cream isn’t the only way that beer is being frozen. In Japan, Kirin have developed a beer and machine called Ichibin Shbori Frozen Draft that freezes the head of the beer to -5°C (23°F). Kirin says that this will help to keep the beer cold for half an hour, giving you longer to enjoy the lager that is best served icy cold.

Previously Kirin has also released a limited edition beer designed to be served on the rocks for the hot summer season. Aiming to enhance the drinking experience, this foamy top is sure to appeal to Japan’s beer market which is expected to grow by 0.4% in 2014 and is already very used to beer innovation.

Previously responsible for researching and writing all of Mintel’s UK drinks reports, Jonny has worked as a Global Drinks Analyst since 2012. He is regularly called upon by both national and international media to provide commentary and analysis on market and consumer trends within the drinks sector. Jonny brings nine years of experience working within the marketing industry, having started as a planner for one of the UK’s leading advertising agencies, Starcom Mediavest, during which he completed a six-month secondment to Inbev (now AB-Inbev) as Assistant Brand Manager of Stella Artois. Following this, he worked as a Market Analyst at Trinity Mirror, one of the UK’s largest newspaper publishers, where he was responsible for using insights to develop the editorial, marketing and sales strategy of the Daily Mirror.

Jonny Forsyth
Jonny Forsyth

Jonny Forsyth is Associate Director, Mintel Food & Drink, monitoring and engaging with latest innovations and market developments in all alcohol and coffee categories.

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