Home' Hospitality Business : HB AUG 2016 Contents I
t would be fair to ask why the hospitality industry should even care
about craft beer (let alone the latest trends), given that despite the
explosion of interest in craft beer over the last few years it still only
accounts for less than 15 per cent of beer sales in New Zealand.
That number plummets to approximately 4 per cent if you remove
Mac’s and Monteiths from the mix. However, the reality is that ignor ing
craft beer, and disregarding the latest trends in the industry would be
an enor mous mistake. For while craft beer may make up just a small
percentage of the beer market, a large percentage of the tastemakers in
your community are interested in it. And by appealing to the interests of
the tastemakers, you attract the masses. And make no mistake, craft beer
aficionados are a demanding and fickle bunch; always attracted to the
latest style, the most exotic ingredients, and the rarest of beers. While
these exotic craft beers may not exactly fly off the shelves, it’s important
that they be on offer if you are to attract the customers that are often
necessar y for the average bar or restaurant to thrive.
THE GROWTH OF THE BESPOKE BREWERY
Before we can discuss the coming trends, we must first look at the
state of the industry over the last few years. It’s quite astonishing to
note that just three and a half years ago there were only fifty brewer ies
registered with the New Zealand Brewers Guild.Today it’s estimated
that there are over one hundred and fifty brewer ies operating in the
country. Depending on how you slice those numbers, that equates to
approximately 200 per cent growth in less than four years, which is
incredible by any measure. Even more impressive given the cur rent
healthy state of the craft beer segment of the industry.
Traditionally New Zealand has been a nation of lager drinkers, both
pale and amber. However, in recent years, these styles have been on
a downward trend as a result of a declining demand for standard and
economy products in favour of premium craft beers. Interestingly, craft
brewer ies were blamed for a 15 million litre decline in overall alcohol
sales in 2012, with more Kiwis opting for higher-priced premium beers
over less expensive brands. In other words, New Zealand beer drinkers
are happy to pay more to get less, so long as the sacr ifice is made in
favour of flavour and quality.
While New Zealand’s craft brewers have produced a wide var iety of
beer styles, hoppy IPAs, Amer ican-style pale ales, and hoppy new-world
Pilsners have especially dominated the market. This should probably
be no sur prise given that New Zealand is fortunate enough to lie at
an ideal latitude for hop cultivation. This has led to a hop-breeding
program that has produced several new hop var ieties unique to New
Zealand and which are now in demand the world over.
Nevertheless, craft beer is about more than just IPAs and hoppy
pale ales. With the explosion of craft beer production over the last few
years, the market has been flooded with many different beer styles;
typically extreme styles that are either high in alcohol, loaded with hop
bitter ness, or fused with strange and exotic ingredients. However, the
industry is matur ing and there are a number of emerging trends that
this author predicts we will see more of in the coming years.
A RETURN TO THE CLASSICS
As the craft segment of the market continues to grow in the coming
years, one can expect a retur n of many classic, lower ABV, session beers.
The simple reality is that the market can’t sustain the high ABV levels
of the average Kiwi craft beer, and many of the more extreme craft beer
styles available will never appeal to the masses. The average beer drinker
is not likely to trade in their case of easy-drinking lager for three bottles
of 10% Russian Imper ial Stout, but they may trade it in for a twelve
pack of well brewed Czech Pilsner, which uses traditional ingredients
and represents the quintessence of the style, and more importantly, is
full of flavour and is fresher than any imported example could ever
hope to be.
To get a glimpse of what the future may bring, one only needs to
look to classic beer styles of the past. Ger man and Czech Pilsner, Porter,
Vienna Lager, Brown Ale, Schwarzbier, English Bitter, and even classic
Beer writer and recent speaker at Top Shelf New Zealand, John Oszajca looks at current and developing trends in craft beer
The future of beer...
62 | August 2016 | Hospitality BUSINESS
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