Brewing towards the future: the upcoming trends

At BeerSelect, we strive to do more than just brew beer; we are constantly looking to innovate and keep our finger on the pulse of the latest developments in the beer world. We like to take a look at emerging trends and share our findings with fellow brewers. Below, we offer an overview of eleven emerging trends shaping the beer industry.

1. How non-alcoholic beer is changing the market

Non-alcoholic beer is rapidly conquering the market, with innovation being key. Brewers have successfully accepted the challenge of producing alcohol-free beer without compromising flavour and aroma. This has led to exciting developments in the brewing process, notably the use of special yeast cultures that convert only a small amount of sugar into alcohol. Tunnel pasteurisation, an essential step after the brewing process, prevents further fermentation and keeps the alcohol content low. This method allows brewers to produce high-quality alcohol-free beer that meets legal requirements, while still retaining the flavour and aroma that beer lovers love. This trend shows how the beer industry continues to innovate to meet changing consumer preferences.

Find out more about non-alcoholic beer and learn all about the production process here!

2. The rise of canned beer: a tasty and sustainable revolution

Canned beer has experienced a remarkable comeback. Once unjustly considered the drink of the less fortunate, it has now gained a prominent place in the world of beer lovers and brewers. Canned beer offers significant advantages in terms of flavour and freshness. Unlike bottles, cans do not let light through, which means the beer is not exposed to harmful sunlight. This results in a longer shelf life and preserves the flavour of the beer consistently, from the first sip to the last. Moreover, cans are lighter, more compact and fully recyclable, making a positive impact on the environment.

Read even more benefits of canned beer in our blog!

2. Refreshing blends and the rise of Ready-To-Drinks

A notable trend increasingly observed in the beer world is brewers diversifying their product ranges, often including other beverages such as ciders and Ready-To-Drinks. RTDs are pre-mixed beverages, like apple and pear cider, which can be consumed straight from the package and typically have a lower alcohol content. Since 2018, the popularity of RTDs has been growing faster than that of other major beverage categories. For instance, 44% of global RTD sales come from the United States. The convenience of RTDs appeals to many consumers as they require no preparation or mixing and are easily portable.

At BeerSelect, we fully embrace this progress and remain flexible and open-minded when it comes to brewing new and innovative recipes. Whether it’s non-alcoholic beer, craft creations, or other bold experiments, we are ready to blend our passion for brewing with creativity.

3. Sustainability in the beer industry

In a time where sustainability is paramount and waste reduction is a top priority, we see a wave of innovation in the beer industry. Brewers are embracing creativity and experimenting with various ingredients that would otherwise be considered waste.

For many breweries, like BeerSelect, sustainability is not an afterthought, but an essential value woven into every aspect of the brewing process. There is a growing commitment to embracing environmentally friendly practices and minimizing the ecological footprint. This includes striving for maximum water and heat recovery and exploring innovative methods to fulfill energy needs, such as utilizing solar power.

In addition to reducing plastic usage and seeking eco-friendly alternatives, steps are also being taken to repurpose cans without the use of glue or plastic, further reducing the ecological impact. These developments align with the growing demand from the retail world for more sustainable solutions. Additionally, investments have been made in water purification systems to purify water, a crucial step in reducing the environmental impact of the brewery sector.

4. Surprising flavors in the craft beer world

In the vibrant world of beer brewing, we’re witnessing an intriguing trend emerge. Brewers are stepping outside traditional boundaries and experimenting with surprising flavors like licorice and syrup waffles, creating unique beers. These bold explorations promise beer enthusiasts a range of new and surprising taste experiences.

Research indicates that in certain beer styles, there will be significant experimentation in the coming years. Firstly, there are the “sours“. With their distinctive acidity and endless possibilities for flavor combinations, sour beers have evolved into a beloved niche product. Additionally, there is the revival of “lagers“. Although not a niche category, lagers were long overlooked by craft breweries. Now, more and more microbreweries are adding impressive lagers to their lineup. Lastly, we have the “hazy” or “juicy” beers, which are particularly approachable and appealing to those who do not enjoy the bitter taste of other beers.

These developments demonstrate how brewers are challenging traditional norms and embracing new flavor adventures. This results in a diverse range that caters to the varied taste preferences of beer enthusiasts worldwide.

5. Beer in gastronomy

Belgian beers are gaining increasing recognition in the gastronomic world, as evidenced by the Michelin Guide 2024. Several Belgian restaurants with an extensive selection of unique beers are praised in this prestigious guide. This recognition not only emphasizes the diversity and quality of Belgian beers but also their ability to seamlessly complement refined culinary creations. A striking example of this can be found at Boury, a three-star restaurant in Roeselare, where head sommelier Mathieu Vanneste pairs beer with desserts. In this way, beers become an indispensable part of the gastronomic experience, both in Belgium and beyond. It is clear that beers are no longer seen merely as accompanying drinks but as integral components of the culinary art.

6. The rise of craft beers

Belgium and the Netherlands boast a thriving beer culture. Amidst the impressive breweries and commercial brands, local and craft breweries shine as unsung heroes, embodying the essence of innovation and craftsmanship.

At the beginning of 2024, Belgium boasted a staggering 420 of these breweries, while the Netherlands housed an impressive 918. These figures alone speak volumes about the dynamism and diversity of the beer scene in the Low Countries.

What makes these breweries so special? The answer lies in their dedication to craftsmanship and quality. While large breweries often aim for mass production, local brewers opt for a more personal approach. They cherish traditional methods while simultaneously embracing innovation, resulting in a range of unique and flavorful beers that capture the hearts of beer enthusiasts.

A fascinating trend that has been increasingly emerging in recent years is the growing appreciation for these artisanal and local beers. Consumers and businesses alike are seeking innovative flavors and stories, which they find in the brews of these small-scale breweries. By focusing on unique ingredients and local flavors, they manage to bridge the gap between the past and the future of beer culture.

7. Collaboration brews

In the dynamic world of the beer industry, we see a remarkable trend emerging: collaborations and crossover projects between breweries and various other sectors. This phenomenon, known as “collaboration brews,” brings not only brewers together but also partners such as coffee houses and supermarkets to create unique beers that transcend traditional brewing methods.

These collaborations provide a fertile ground for creativity and innovation, bringing together the unique expertise and flavor profiles of both parties to produce something truly distinctive. For smaller breweries, these partnerships offer an opportunity to expand their reach and enter new markets that may have otherwise been inaccessible.

By joining forces with various partners, breweries contribute to a more diverse beer selection and offer consumers new taste experiences. These collaborations are not only a source of inspiration for the beer world but also illustrate the growing diversity and dynamism within the industry. It’s an exciting time in the world of brewing, where the boundaries of taste and tradition are constantly being pushed.

8. Brewpubs on the rise

With the increasing popularity of craft beers and the growing demand for local and fresh products, brewpubs are an emerging trend. These unique establishments combine the best of a microbrewery and a cozy pub or restaurant, where guests can enjoy freshly brewed beers, straight from the tap.

The concept of brewpubs already has strong roots in the United States, where as many as 3,418 such locations can be found. However, in Belgium, this trend is not yet as popular, which presents opportunities for future beer brewers to add a new chapter to the country’s rich beer culture.

At a brewpub, it’s all about the experience: from observing the brewing process to tasting the diverse beers produced on-site. It offers beer enthusiasts the opportunity to discover new flavors and enjoy a relaxed atmosphere where the passion for brewing takes center stage.

Brewpubs offer a unique culinary experience where the local community and craft beer culture come together. Whether you’re looking for a casual night out with friends or a place to learn more about the brewing process, a visit to a brewpub promises to be a memorable and flavorful experience.

9. The power of collaboration: the rise of contract brewing

Contract brewing is a growing trend in today’s beer world. It’s a strategic move where a beer company entrusts its proven recipes to an external brewery for production. Instead of investing in their own brewery, these companies leverage the production capacity and expertise of established breweries.

At BeerSelect, we fully embrace the concept of contract brewing. We specialize in brewing and bottling for third parties, utilizing our advanced brewing facilities. This not only provides our clients with greater flexibility but also the opportunity to explore new markets and expand their range without the need for significant investments in their own brewing facilities.

10. Hopwater: a flavorful revolution in the beverage industry

While hopwater is not a new phenomenon, it is gaining popularity thanks to brands like Hoppy Refresher, which have successfully introduced it to the market. Hopwater appeals to consumers who desire a sophisticated, flavorful alternative to alcoholic beverages. It reflects a broader cultural shift towards more conscious and healthier drinking habits.

In 2022, hopwater was the fifth fastest-growing craft beverage in the US, highlighting the increasing allure and popularity of this unique drink (NielsenIQ, 2023). While hopwater is not yet as well-known in Belgium, it is slowly gaining ground, with a growing number of specialty shops and online retailers catering to this beverage. This rise of hopwater offers breweries the opportunity to expand their product range and appeal to a wider audience, including those who do not consume alcohol or are seeking a healthier option.

Heading towards a successful future: beer innovation and sustainability in motion

In a world where the beer industry is constantly evolving, one thing is clear: the future of beer looks exciting. From the rise of alcohol-free beer and Ready-To-Drinks to innovative approaches to sustainability and the surprising flavors brewers are exploring, the beer world continues to evolve and innovate. This dynamism is bolstered by local breweries embracing the rich traditions and flavors of their communities, and by collaborations that push boundaries and create new taste experiences. Companies like BeerSelect are not only witnessing these trends but actively participating in them, combining their passion for brewing with innovation and sustainability. Together with partners and customers, we look forward to a future where beer is not just a beverage but a true culinary experience.

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