The 2010’s might be officially over, but all that means is that beer lovers get to witness a fresh ten years worth of new products and trends unfold. 2019 displayed a shift within the beer industry and shed light on a new-age of drinkers. Craft breweries are still popping up pretty frequently, IPAs are still the king of beer categories and many brands are unafraid to be bold in their product creation – still, the landscape is changing.
2019 revealed where the alcohol industry might be heading, and based off of that, we’ve highlighted the trends we think will be big to kickoff the new decade in 2020.
Seltzers Continue to Grow
This is probably the least shocking trend on this list, but it’s also the most seismic shift the beer industry has seen in years. Hard seltzer took center stage in 2019 where it catapulted to the top of the charts and took the industry by storm. Led by White Claw & Truly, hard seltzer saw insane growth across the country. Not only were major brands investing in the trend during 2019, but even local craft breweries like Evil Genius Beer Co. joined the party.
Seltzer is showing no signs of slowing down and 2020 will see more familiar faces, like Corona, enter the market. On top of this, industry leaders like Truly are wasting no time rolling out new innovations like Truly Lemonade Hard Seltzer to increase their foothold at the top of the market. The question isn’t whether or not seltzer will continue to grow in 2020, but rather how much.
Hard Coffee Will Be the Next Big Malternative Category
Coffee is already a well-established flavor in the beer industry and last year saw the emergence of a new malternative. Throughout the year, companies began to follow in hard seltzer’s footsteps and establish a new segment within the beer world. While it’s been a moderate start, some great-tasting products like Brown Bomber have begun to find their niche with hard latte and cold brew products.
Hard coffee is an alcoholic category that makes sense. Roughly 70% of people drink coffee every day. Even more coffee companies, like La Colombe, are going to be getting in on the action in 2020. If well-established coffee brands begin offering alcoholic versions of their already-beloved products, the hard coffee industry could easily blow up.
Non-Alcoholic Beer Sales Keep Creeping Upward
Non-Alcoholic beer is a category that has a major presence worldwide, but hasn’t quite caught on in the U.S. just yet. 2019 saw the release of products like Heineken 0.0 and Lagunitas Hoppy Refresher, which are helping shift the landscape of Non-Alcoholic products. Heineken 0.0 was the company’s largest growth brand in 2019 and sold over 1 million cases, which has given Heineken 11% share of the non-alcoholic market.
Non-alc products are becoming more popular and common among drinkers, which shows that this category has tons of potential, especially with younger drinkers. Gen Z drinkers discuss drinking alcohol less than previous generations and are gravitating towards the non-alc and low-abv products more and more. Look for Heineken to tap into trends like Dry January to capitalize. If other breweries see the potential for non-alcoholic products and continue to follow in the footsteps of Heineken, the entire category has the potential to take a big leap in 2020.
Low Calorie Beers Will Be the Big Focus
In 2019 the better-for-you trend picked up a lot of momentum. With products like Dogfish Head Slightly Mighty and Corona Premier finding success by displaying their caloric amount front and center on their labels, it showed how important this information is to consumers. Other breweries wasted no time doing the same. Brands like Lagunitas DayTime and Shiner Ruby Redbird quickly redesigned their packaging to call out the calories in these beers, which were already low-cal to begin with.
Plenty of existing beers have less than 150 calories, but beer’s perception tends to be that of a less healthy drinking option and giving you a “beer gut”. 2019 revealed that consumer mindset is changing and it’s important to inform drinkers about nutritional info. In 2020, low-calorie will become an even more dominant category and will have breweries rushing to release new products that are under 100 calories and have 5 or less grams of carbs.
Kombucha Will See Nationwide Growth
Kombucha is already a popular beverage type and alcoholic versions have been popping up slowly over the past two years. In 2019, hard kombucha grew in popularity and saw a significant amount of companies enter into the market. While hard kombucha has already seen success on the west coast, there has been expanded distribution across the country as better-for-you products are picking up steam.
Consumers are becoming more and more interested in alternative alcoholic products with a focus on flavor. Combined with the growing better-for-you trend, kombucha seems like it’s a ticking time bomb waiting to explode. Hard kombucha offers natural ingredients, unique flavors and lower calorie and sugar content.