With seemingly unlimited formulation options and a “wild west” landscape where (almost) anything goes, brewers and distillers may find themselves facing unexpected challenges with no clear path forward. The FlavorSum team has collaborated with several experts to develop guidelines and perspectives that can help you overcome several RTD cocktail formulation challenges.
3 min read
On September 22, The Brewers Journal launched their fall lecture series; a 3-day virtual event focused on current challenges and future opportunities in the brewing industry. The event builds on a commitment that began in 2014 to hold educational and networking forums for brewers throughout North American and Europe.
The Brewers Lectures Fall 2021 sessions attracted more than 400 participants, bringing total attendance across the Spring and Fall events to more than 800 people from 20 countries. The FlavorSum team sponsored and participated in the conference, where more than 30 speakers addressed various topics dealing with brewing culture, technology, marketing, and innovation. Here are a few highlights from the event.
5 min read
September 9th marked the start of the 38th annual Craft Brewers Conference. More than 7,000 brewers, suppliers, distributors, and solutions providers, including FlavorSum, gathered to share ideas about connecting with customers through the quality and authenticity of craft brews.
The FlavorSum team also attended the BrewExpo America tradeshow, where nearly 600 exhibitors showcased tools, technology, and ingredients to support 10,000 North American craft brewers. Here are a few highlights from the 4-day event.
5 min read
What does the “wild west” have in common with RTD cocktails? Much like the vast frontier drew adventurers who wanted to explore new areas, the RTD cocktail market has attracted beverage pioneers, cowboys, and even a few outlaws. This diverse cast of brewers and distillers seeks to innovate in a fast-growing alcoholic beverage segment and create beverages that get repeat purchases.
The FlavorSum team has collaborated with several experts to develop guidelines and perspectives that can help you overcome several RTD cocktail formulation challenges.
1 min read
What does every brewer or distiller interested in bottling flavored alcoholic beverages for the U.S. market have in common? They all need federal government approval of their beverage formulas. So whether you’re an R&D team creating innovative flavors for a beer brand, or a start-up with a fresh take on hard seltzer, you’ll soon connect with the TTB.
Watch on to learn more about navigating the process for TTB approved ingredients.
7 min read
Rapid evolution blurs the lines between established Flavored Malt Beverages (FMBs) and the expanding flavored ready-to-drink (RTD) alcoholic beverage segment, including RTD Cocktails. FMBs are primarily seltzers, while flavored RTD alcoholic beverages can include hard (fermented) teas, coffees, and kombucha. RTD cocktails feature flavors atop grain neutral spirits or replicate favorite drinks like wine spritzes or vodka martinis. Because all are ready-to-drink, consumers often view the subsets as one category.
The opportunity to capture some of the market growth from any of the formats is tempting.
- Global consumption of RTD cocktails grew more than 40% in 2020, and they are forecast to reach USD 1.63 billion within the next 6 years.
- In the U.S., hard seltzer gained +130% in 2020 as the leading RTD sub-segment, driving volume above total spirits. Worldwide sales of hard seltzer passed the USD 4 billion mark, and some estimates predict the market will surpass USD 14 billion by 2027.
The total RTD category is becoming crowded, shifting from 10 brands in 2018 to more than 65 last year, excluding on-premise or direct-to-consumer labels. Online liquor retailer Drizly reported almost 170 RTD brands in 2020, up from 85 in 2018.
Standing out from the pack and finding a path to success with RTD Cocktails or FMBs involves formulation and flavor decisions and an understanding of the regulatory landscape.
1 min read
Although seltzers have been available in various forms for almost a decade, it wasn't until brands like White Claw hit the liquor and beer aisles in 2016 that the segment settled on 'hard' seltzer. Consumers were reeled in with sleek canned packaging featuring pops of color to emphasize flavor variety. As hard seltzer continues to provide the solution for a growing health halo trend in the beverage industry, flavor is still king when it comes to consumer appeal.
8 min read
Activity in North America’s flavored beer market can be a bit difficult to track. According to Mintel, more than 100 new flavored beers landed on retail shelves in 2020, representing 40% of launches in the flavored alcohol space. However, with many breweries selling innovative flavors directly to customers (and bypassing retail shelves), the actual number of new flavored beers is undoubtedly much, much higher. Craft beer consumers have demonstrated their thirst for flavored beers by eagerly sampling novel and complex flavor profiles like Avocado Honey Ale or Coconut Curry Hefeweizen. Many have even come to expect new and innovative flavored beers from their favorite breweries.
A few weeks ago, we shared part one of our interview with Stephen Rich, Brewmaster, Certified Cicerone, Prud’homme Beer Sommelier, and BJCP Certified Beer Judge. After discussing the pros and cons of adding flavor to beer, we asked Stephen for his thoughts about the direction craft beers are taking with flavor. We also explored how brewers can create delicious beers that build customer interest and brand presence.
7 min read
The U.S. Brewers Association reported that while overall beer sales were down in 2019, craft brewer sales grew by 4%, reaching 13.6% of the U.S. beer market by volume. In Canada, the number of brewing facilities increased by 12.9% in 2019, with 94% of breweries classified as small, local operations. Canadian craft beer sales increased ten-fold over the past decade. Flavored beer continues to have a strong presence.
According to Mintel, more than 100 new flavored beers landed on North American retail and grocery shelves in 2020, representing more than 40% of total new product activity. However, with many breweries selling innovative new flavors directly to customers (and never hitting retail shelves), the actual number of new flavored beers is likely to be much, much higher.
Many breweries have added value to their products, delighted customers, and increased market share with flavored beer offerings. However, there are a myriad of technical considerations when adding flavor to beer. Is it better to use raw ingredients or a liquid flavor? What sanitary and safety concerns should be addressed? When is the best time to add flavor to achieve the desired result?
To understand the nuanced pros and cons of adding liquid flavor to beer, we spoke with Stephen Rich, Brewmaster, Certified Cicerone, Prud’homme Beer Sommelier, and BJCP Certified Beer Judge.
In part two of our interview, we’ll ask Stephen about flavored beer trends and how brewers can create delicious beers that build customer loyalty and their brand.
6 min read
The year is 2020, and Kansas City Chiefs quarterback, Patrick Mahomes, has led his team back from a ten-point deficit in the third from the San Francisco 49ers in Superbowl LIV. The game cuts to commercial. We see a gentleman walk into what appears to be a local liquor store—a gentleman with piercing blue eyes, an easy-going smile, and a face full of tattoos. Yes, you read that right, a face covered in tattoos. It's hip hop artist Post Malone, and although not everyone may know him, his uniqueness attracts attention.
The ad personifies Malone's internal senses, right down to his taste buds, as he considers purchasing various seltzer flavors from that famous beer company in St. Louis. The commercial is a little bizarre but engages the audience. Maybe that's the point. The idea of a light, easy-to-drink, alcoholic beverage viewed as a healthy alternative with flavor variety is as attention-grabbing as Malone. Hard seltzers have captivated consumer interest and are one of the latest trends in alcoholic beverages.