Home' FMCG Business : FMCG DEC 2015 Contents [ xxxxxxx ]
here is cricket on the television and Christmas songs
playing in the supermarket. It must be summer in
New Zealand. The summer season traditionally sees
an increase in beer and cider purchases as people
celebrate the warmer weather and holidays with their
families and friends.
Lagers and pilsners are the archetypal summer beers – crisp, dry,
easy drinking brews which slake the thirst. Andrew Childs, founder
and head brewer at Behemoth Brewing Company, observed that “any
breweries which do a pilsner, lager or summer style beer increase their
production at this time of year.” He had just made a large batch of
Behemoth Hopped Up on Pils, his best-selling lager.
Dr Ralph Bungard, founder of Three Boys and former President of
the Brewer’s Guild of New Zealand, argued “beer drinking changes
dramatically in summer.” In his experience, “we see real changes.
People feel like a lighter beer - crisper and drier to quench your thirst.
They are getting away from sweeter and heavier beers. In the winter it
is the complete opposite.”
Bungard noted that his Three Boys Wheat, Pilsner and Golden Ales
brands “come into their own” in the warmer months. He let slip a little
trade secret when he revealed “we try to lighten up some of our beers
in the summertime – our Pilsner is a little bit lighter in summer than
wintertime. We use a few tricks in relation to the temperature and
speciality malt blend to achieve that. I’m not sure how many other
brewers do it but you can as a smaller brewery.”
Hop Federation, a recent winner at the Nelson Chamber of
Commerce Start Up Business Awards, is planning an entire series of
summer beers under the brand “El Nino Summer Series”. The first
up is a 5.5% Pilsner, which hits the shelves at the start of December.
Other notable Kiwi Pilsners include the classic Emerson’s Pilsner,
Liberty Halo Pilsner, Croucher Pilsner and Epic Awakening Pilsner.
LOWER AND LIGHTER
It is undeniable that the change to the drink driving limits has
dramatically impacted Kiwi drinking habits. Sales of non-alcoholic,
low-alcohol and mid-strength beverages have increased significantly.
The challenge for brewers is to try to capture big flavours in lower
alcohol drinks - no easy task.
Big breweries basically all have mid-strength offerings, including
Speight’s Mid Ale and Mac’s Mid Vicious. Emerson’s Bookbinder Bitter
has long been the flag bearer for tasty but responsible beers. It has been
joined by surprisingly flavoursome offerings such as Croucher Low Rider,
Hallertau Minimus and ParrotDog Clipped Wing, which are all under 4%.
Bungard notes that “most brewers have a light in alcohol beer and sales
are particularly strong this time of year. People are heading out to events
and want a drink but are uncomfortable with drink driving limits because
they are not normally out. Light beers are a perfect option.” He applauds
the Low Rider, Tuatara Iti and his own new 2.3% hoppy pale ale which
uses some non-New Zealand hops for an interesting change.
Monteith’s have released a 2.8% cider called Monteith’s Lightly
Crushed Cider which might signal a new push towards mid-strength
ciders in the same way brewers have adapted to new customer
demands. For those watching the calories as well as the alcohol
by volume, the new Pure Blonde Ultra Low lager boasts 80% less
carbohydrates than regular beer and 50% less calories than wine.
It is eminently predictable that as the sun gets hotter people turn to
crisp, refreshing lagers. However, the sleeper trend of summer might
be sour beers. Through the careful use of speciality yeasts, brewers are
able to produce sour beers which were made for centuries before lagers
came to dominate the market. Sour beers have been huge in America
for a number of years and where US drinkers go, Kiwis tend to follow.
Scottish-born and incredibly pale former New Zealand Beer Writer of the Year
Neil Miller peers out nervously from under his sun umbrella to see what will
be happening to New Zealand beer and cider this summer.
A LONG SUMMER
64 FMCG BUSINESS - DEC/JAN 2016
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