If you’re a fan of hoppy, bitter beers, hold on to your IPAs — the next trend in beer is not for you.
According to a report from Mintel, fruit-flavored beer launches have increased worldwide in response to people seeking more flavorful drink options.
Since 2012, one in ten beer launches have contained either fruit juice concentrate, fruit extracts or fruit peels.
The trend began to accelerate in Europe about five years ago with the growing popularity of radlers, or shandies — a half beer and half fruit juice or lemonade blend. Seeking to offset a decline in mainstream beer sales, global brewers like Heineken, Carlsberg and Anheuser-Busch InBev began brewing fruit beers as well.
But for years it had been craft brewers who have been leading the market with releases of fruity styles such as sours, cherry beers and saisons. Now, we’re also seeing fruit juice being added to their pale ales and IPA beers as well.
The peak of fruity beers in Europe hit in 2014 when 12 percent of new beer products were fruit flavored, but while sales have shown signs of decline in Europe, the trend is still gaining momentum in North America.
In the first half of 2017, 16 percent of new products in North America were fruit flavored. According to Mintel Purchase Intelligence, consumers aged 21-34 are significantly more likely to purchase these fruit flavored beer over non-fruit flavored beers.
Fruit beers are gaining popularity with Latin America as well. Brazil has been a driving force behind the trend with regional fruity beer launches doubling since 2015.
Mintel reports that fruity beers are benefitting from the “health halo” of using fruit. Brands are increasingly incorporating fresh fruit ingredients visually on their packages and it’s appealing to a more health conscious, younger audience.