Keeping pace with brewing trends in 2021

The brewing industry was by no means immune to the ups and downs of 2020. Breweries and consumers alike shifted habits and made adjustments on the fly. But some things (thankfully) remained constant: the ever-increasing preference among consumers for healthier beverage choices, and the drive to embed sustainable practices throughout the industry.

What are consumers reaching for?

A scan of any supermarket beverage case will quickly confirm that consumers have a huge array of choices when it comes to beer. While the traditional IPAs and lagers are still a main feature, they do have some new neighbors on the shelf: from sub-100 calorie beers to brews without gluten (or even alcohol) to the ever-growing variety of hard seltzers. With so much to choose from, what are consumers choosing?

We got the answer to this and other key questions in a recent DSM trend report that shared results from  a survey of regular beer drinkers across 20 countries. Overwhelmingly, the trend toward healthier beverage choices came through loud and clear, with 59% of consumers concerned about the health aspect of drinking beer. 

Weight gain is also a key concern. Breweries are clearly paying attention and catering to this demand with a range of lighter choices, while also working hard to improve their appeal and ensure great taste.

Sustainability matters, too

As consumers make choices guided by health and wellness concerns, they are also focusing on ingredients and how their beverages are made. Our report reveals that 54% are influenced by ingredient claims, and 39% will pay for a beer with local ingredients. This is a huge opportunity for brewers, and many are jumping on board to answer those needs with more sustainable processes that help reduce their footprint.

Additionally, consumers are beginning to draw a connection between local ingredients and sustainability – a trigger that could potentially make more planet-friendly brewing practices the norm and usher in a new wave of more sustainably-produced beers with the taste consumers crave.

Hard seltzers remain a booming beverage category

As a longtime partner to the brewing industry, DSM is always keeping pace with the latest trends and in turn, helping our brewery customers do the same.

For example, those expanding into the hard seltzer category (an exploding segment of the market) can now turn to our Maxinvert® solution to speed production of sucrose-based hard seltzers. This unique invertase enzyme solution hydrolyzes sucrose to fructose and glucose, providing fermentable sugars at the very beginning of production. This eliminates a lag (up to two days) that brewers normally experience at the beginning of fermentation. Using Maxinvert® can reduce overall fermentation time by up to 50% and in turn increase production capacity and yield.  

These benefits also help drive sustainability within customers’ processes, as reduced production time requires less energy consumption and contributes to a lower carbon footprint.

Solutions for successful adjunct brewing

As sustainability moves up the agenda across the board, DSM is noting that customers are looking at raw materials as one element that can drive efficiency and reduce cost. Those who normally brew with traditional malts are increasingly exploring adjuncts – rice, maize, sorghum, to name just a few. The adjunct options available to brewers vary by geography and season and can also differ widely in quality.

Here, DSM supports customers by helping them get the most out of their raw materials without compromising on the quality of the finished product. Just recently we launched Maxadjunct™ ß L, a high-performance adjunct brewing enzyme. It’s aimed at brewers who produce their beers with a wide range of grains instead of malted barleys. Using locally available, unmalted raw materials helps drive resource efficiency and lowers costs for brewers. But it’s not without challenges, so DSM’s full range of adjunct brewing enzymes, in partnership with our Brewmaster experts, work with each customer’s unique process to develop flexible recipes that can be produced sustainably and with consistent quality.

New year, new opportunities

This quality is ultimately what consumers taste when they make their beverage choice – whether it be a fruity hard seltzer, an ultra-light beer or a craft beer made with local ingredients. Bringing new products to the market that deliver on quality but also top-notch taste and that also respond to current trends is a challenge for our industry that will carry us into 2021 and beyond. At DSM we’re up to the challenge - always innovating to keep pace with these trends, and working to develop timely solutions that enable our customers to seize new opportunities with an eye towards sustainability.

Download Report

Here at DSM we recently asked 1,000 beer drinkers spread across four continents about the upcoming trends as part of our latest (independently conducted) Global Insights Report.

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Published on

08 January 2021