Long has beer been the drink of The Man, associated with barley, bellies and beards. Its image has evolved dramatically and over the last two years and around 98 million posts, we’ve identified exactly what’s been driving its transformation (more on our methodology here). We are in an age of burgeoning beer connoisseurs. This professionalisation in taste has been signalled by interest in experimentation of food and beer pairings, and the call for proper glassware. It’s also worth noting that the majority 37% of global drinkers don’t have a distinct preference between craft pours and mainstream brands. This tells us, alongside our social media analytics, that there’s broad opportunity for independent breweries and large alcohol brands alike to take advantage of these emerging consumer themes.
Conversation of food-beer pairings have been growing by 147% over the last two years. And what exactly do social media users have with a pint of beer? The modest ale is most frequently associated with ‘posh fast food’, street food and food trucks. These informal pairings mean that consumers are welcome to experiment and find the flavours they like themselves. And why shouldn’t they when the makers themselves are going that one step further and incorporating foods into their process. The Veil Brewing Co are combining fried chicken tenders into their beers and Portland’s Upright Brewing that adds charred beef hearts and spices into their concoction.
What can brands do?
Even though food in beer seems niche (and it is!) there’s potential for mainstream adoption of much tamer combinations. After all, we are already seeing more innovations in functional beer, such as the world’s first probiotic beer made in Singapore and Portsmouth Brewery’s craftbeer Libeeration, which contains homeopathic ingredients to alleviate menopausal symptoms. We also found that those involved in the food pairing conversation are 101x more interested in chefs than the average Twitter population, indicating an appreciation for culinary creativity, perhaps even applied to beer.
There is certainly opportunity for partnerships with food brands. Take a cue from Cobra, who introduced a food pairing tasting pop-up to launch one of their beverages at the London Food Month event, earlier in 2017.
If there’s an ideal level of hoppiness to wash down a perfectly complementary fast food, there’s also the quintessential glass from which to do so. We’ve recognised a rising belief that using the correct glass enhances the drinking experience. Experts claim that it affects the formation and retention of head, as well as enhancing the aroma of certain beers. The growth is interesting when taking into account other types of alcohol like wine and cocktails, which has always had specific glassware. Typically, beer has not and this points towards an uptick in appreciation and status of the drink.
The desire to be a Domestic Professional is driving this. This Foresight Factory trend looks at how taking a skilled approach to household duties can enrich our lifestyles – whether its cooking, household management or interior design. Our data indicates that interest is almost equal when it comes to men (46%) and women (54%), but if we look specifically at beer and glassware within the trend, 94% of the conversation comes from men.
What can brands do?
An average of 81% of people, wherever they fall on the spectrum of weekly beer drinking or none at all, feel the need to learn more. Brands looking to appeal to beer enthusiasts could develop branded glassware or partner with glassware brands. Incorporating advice on the best kind to use and pouring techniques adds a technical aspect that consumers in this conversation will appreciate.
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