Belgium or Bavaria – which traditional beer region is more influential?

October 2, 2018
2 min read

Bavaria’s annual Oktoberfest is in full swing and is inspiring millions of visitors from around the world to celebrate Bavarian beer in Munich. Even though Oktoberfest, or ‘Wiesn’, as the celebration is known to locals, has become an international celebration long ago, with spin-offs everywhere from South America to Australia, it continues to celebrate beer craftsmanship.

However, when it comes to which region in the world is most associated with beer, Bavaria has stiff competition from Belgium. While both regions have rich traditions and heritage, Mintel’s expert analysts have used the Mintel Global New Products Database, to determine which type of beer sees more innovation around the globe – and where these products are popular.

Mintel’s research shows, that products marketed as ‘Belgian style beers’ are far more frequently launched outside of Europe than ‘Bavarian style’ ones, with ‘Belgian’ beer product, launches outnumbering ‘Bavarian’ more than five-to-one in the past five years. Interestingly, however, Belgium is only the country with the 6th highest share of ‘Belgian’ beer launches. In 2017, only 7% of all ‘Belgian’ beer launches originated in the country itself. The US meanwhile, saw more than double that amount, with 16% of all Belgian beer launches originating there, followed by France (12%), Norway (9%) Brazil (8%) and Italy (8%).

For Bavarian-style beer, however, the story looks very different: the majority of beer launches featuring a ‘Bavarian’ product description came from Germany itself, with 34% of all launches occurring there. 16% of all Bavarian beer launches came from the USA and 5% from Italy, the UK and South Africa.

As outlined in Mintel’s Food & Drink Trends Based on a True Story and In Tradition, We Trust, the continued interest in the stories behind products is reflected by consumers’ curiosity about the origins, ingredients and inspiration of the food and drink they consume. The popularity of these age-old European brewing traditions overseas is an example of this. While traditional beer styles from Europe face tough competition from the beer styles made popular by the craft beer movement, such as Pale Ales and Stouts, traditional continental European brewing styles could appeal to consumers in more saturated craft beer markets such as the US and the UK, where these old regional styles of beer are a new and interesting flavour for consumers used to their own traditional styles.

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