Overseas flavours can curry favour

Beers from across the globe are becoming increasingly popular in the Scottish on-trade as consumers seek new styles and flavours.

That’s the message from importers and suppliers, who said there is growing consumer awareness of beers from other territories with different taste profiles.

There is an increasing awareness of different taste profiles in the world beer category.

David Scott, director of brands and insight at Carlsberg UK whose brands include Mahou and San Miguel, said: “There is a real consumer buzz surrounding the world beer category and operators should be prepared to capitalise on this opportunity.

“Consumers are increasingly aware of beers from other markets and interested in the differing flavour profiles.”

Scott claims there is a beer type for everyone, and advised licensees to stock a broad range. “Operators should remember that consumers are looking for flavours that will make them want to savour every sip and a pub or bar that makes it easy to try new styles, will be repaid with a loyal fan base,” he added.

Alastair Campbell, MD of Tennent Caledonian Breweries, which supplies Heverlee and Menabrea, said publicans in town and city centres should expect  particularly strong demand for world beers.

But regarding range, he said: “These are by no means hard and fast rules, as tastes and preferences constantly evolve and a publican’s own experience is often the best guide to what his or her customers prefer.”

James Wright, head of spirits and agency brands at Halewood International, whose brands include Tsingtao, suggested operators develop a “world beers menu”.

“The choice of which brands to stock depends on the type of bar – 70% of beer in the Scottish on-trade is draught, but premium bars should focus on packaged glass, as bottled beers often appeal to young professionals during nights out.”

Scottish drinkers like to “explore and discover new brands”, share their new finds with their peer group and “influence what others drink on a night out”, according to Julie McGraw, customer marketing manager with Molson Coors Scotland, which supplies Singha Beer and Cobra Beer.

Genna Burchell, marketing manager for world beers at Charles Wells, whose portfolio includes Estrella Damm, said: “Popularity in world beers is being driven by the young and affluent, often in city centres. Whilst they may be going out less often, when they do they are searching for an experience and looking to trade up for a more premium bar call.”

She said Estrella Damm lends itself to being matched with food, adding that the beer “has strength on its own or paired with matching food types”. “This means that it’s flexible enough to provide high volume and profitable margins for wet-led and food operators alike,” said Burchell.

Sam Rhodes, director of customer marketing at Miller Brands UK, which supplies Pilsner Urquell and Kozel, agreed. “If your outlet is one of many supporting local food producers, the pairings don’t necessarily need to be from the same country,” said Rhodes.

“It is more about the flavour and how the beer and food complement each other.”