In our previous article looking at innovation in the beer sector, we signalled the trend for “low or no” alcohol, healthy, low carb, fizzy beer drinks with different flavours, that may not even taste like beer. Did you buy any of these new drinks for this Dry January? Or perhaps for a generally Drier January to December this year…
Since January is also a month of looking forward, let’s see what the brewers have in mind for us in the year to come.
Again, we checked out the European patent register to see what kind of innovations were patented since our last article in the class of beer brewing (C12C)1.
There are still some publications about low alcohol beer, but the trend (at least in patents) seems past the peak. Most methods like removing alcohol by distillation and filtration, or enhancing flavour with special fermentation techniques and yeasts, are by now optimized and in place – and indeed on the market. It looks like the space here for innovation is getting smaller.
On the health front, we see good news for those concerned with their gut health, with suggestions for gluten free beer and beer supplemented with probiotics.
A further trend we see in beer is your locally brewed craft beer. One newcomer in the patent landscape is INTHEKEG from Korea, offering a brewing platform with a smart, black, hexagonal design. They claim that after pressing the button, your craft beer will be ready in just 7 days.
If you want your beer experience at home, a home beer dispenser is already largely available. These systems are generally based on small beer kegs, e.g. 2 litres, that you can connect to your home system. But the brewers are looking to take it a step further by creating “beer in a pod” - see for instance EP4234675 or WO2021228874. These cartridges can then be used at home in carbonation systems like a Sodastream® device. Most are looking at providing an alcohol-free concentrate that you can dilute with carbonated water. But coming out of Dry January, some do offer the option to add alcohol, if you still like that buzz.
The key question of course is will it be tasty and resembling a good old fresh beer in your local café or pub? We will have to wait to find out, because so far, none of these systems seems to be on the market.
In the meantime, if you do fancy something different from your carbonation system, why not try the alcohol free Mojito?!
Wishing you a wonderful year of beer, whatever your fancy!
If you have any questions or would like to join the conversation, please contact Rike Dekker, Rowena Tolley or your usual Kilburn & Strode advisor.