Beer is one of the first drinks humans ever produced and continues to be one of the most popular beverages to this day. Basic ingredients haven’t changed over the centuries, but over the last few years we have been getting glimpses of the future of beer as producers explore new markets.
When I worked at Lion Nathan, the beer market was still pretty simple. We had premium beers but none of the craft or low-carb beers that people buy from their local supermarket. Price point was pretty competitive, but now, with a burgeoning middle class in developing countries, growing demand for super-premium and a market saturated with options, beer brands have to innovate fast if they want to stay at the top.
Diageo is an example of a company using innovative ideas to expand their market. It introduced a low-price beer in Kenya so that people would choose it as a safer option rather than the cheap hooch that was making people ill. Price is kept down through using local ingredients and by putting the beer in kegs operated by a hand pump. But then again, we may just see more non-beer related companies getting into the brewing game. The old joke of bottling success and selling it has come to pass as IKEA recently released its own line of branded beers in its UK stores. Are they on to something?