From Lager to Craft: Polish consumers look for provenance in beer

April 22, 2014
4 min read

Poland is one of the leading beer markets in Europe, with retail consumption volumes higher than the likes of the UK and France.

The vast majority of adult Polish consumers claim that they have bought lager or pilsner beer for home consumption (almost eight in 10 consumers claimed this in 2013) over the past six months. Fruit flavoured beer (63%) and low alcohol beer/shandy/radler (51%) are also popular.

Types of beer purchased in the past six months, Poland, October 2013

% of consumers, 18+
Lager/Pilsner 76
Fruit flavoured beer 63
Low alcohol beer/shandy/radler 51
Spirit flavoured beer (eg Desperados, Amigos) 50
Wheat beer 38
White/brown ale 30
Craft beer (made by a small producer) 27
Other type of beer (eg bitter) 23
Non-alcoholic beer 18
Gluten-free beer 6

Base: 859 internet users aged 18+
Source: Mintel

Despite the fact that lager remains the most popular beer type in Poland, craft and local brewery products are gaining consumer attention. The production of more unusual (and often flavoured)
beers, usage of local ingredients and better quality products are the main attractions of beers coming from craft breweries. Polish consumers, tired of mass-market beers, are looking for new tastes and experiences in their beer consumption experience and have started to embrace the craft beer movement.

Product Description
Maćkowe Honey Beer This product is said to have unique flavour and old recipe of sweetness. The pasteurized and naturally cloudy product beer 1
Manufaktura Piwna Three Cereals Beer This is an unfiltered light beer containing a combination of three cereals, a barley base and wheat, and featuring the bitterness of rye and the freshness of added juniper berries. beer2
Browar Jagiello Magnus Cranberry Beer This is a dark beer brewed with four types of malt. beer 3
Browar Konstancin Beer from Oak Barrel It is said to have been traditionally aged in an oak barrel and to have a unique taste. beer 4

The future of craft beer in Poland

Despite the strong current performance of craft beers in Poland, it is unclear how the future of the market will develop. The major brewers have seen the popularity of small locally produced beers grow and are aiming to tap into the demand by investing in niche brands, such as Brackie by Grupa Żywiec. Acquisition of smaller brands by the major players is also a possibility as they seek to diversify their assortment. A recent example here is the acquisition of a brewery in Konstancin, near Warsaw by Browar Gontyniec.

The shorter shelf life of craft beer, coupled with its higher price point than mainstream brands, is also a restricting factor in developing high volumes, meaning craft producers remain somewhat exposed to changes in market demand. Craft beer manufacturers also often struggle to penetrate the foodservice market, which usually have agreements with big beer manufacturers.

However, renewed economic growth in Poland is likely to positively influence the performance of local breweries as the price barrier in particular will be less of a limiting factor for new consumers. Wider distribution of craft beers is also giving greater impetus to the market as mainstream retailers such as Tesco, Real and Piotr i Paweł react to consumer demand and seek out smaller breweries. Some small breweries, such as Browar Jagiełło, are investing internally in production lines and plan to increase their capacity.

Regina Maiseviciute joined Mintel in 2013 as a Food and Drink Analyst for Poland. As a part of the Mintel Food and Drink team, she tracks new innovation, consumer trends and market development activity in Poland. Regina brings over 10 years of experience working in leading market research and strategic analysis agencies, where she has provided insights and strategic recommendations to leading global FMCG organisations and packaging manufacturers, retailers and governmental bodies within Eastern Europe and also globally.

Regina Maiseviciute
Regina Maiseviciute

Regina is a Global Food & Drink Analyst. As part of the analyst team she provides insights on product innovation, trends and packaging and market developments globally.

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