Beer paradox as Foster’s forecasts bland future

Paradoxically, as consumer interest in exotic beers grows and the number of microbrewers in the premium market expands, the mass market demands ever-blander beers.

Faced with a declining market share, Foster’s recently announced plans to regain momentum. And the focus seems to be largely on plugging gaps, or creating new opportunities, in the lighter-flavoured end of the market.

The approach suggests that wide swathes of Australia’s population doesn’t like traditional beer and perhaps never will.

Of the new products Foster’s plans, perhaps the nearest to traditional beer is said to be a mid-strength lager to be launched in Queensland under its new Great Northern Brewery Company brand. It’ll be brewed at Foster’s existing Yatala brewery and targeted square at Lion Nathan’s XXXX Gold.

From there, the beeriness of the new products declines.  There’s hope, perhaps, for Pure Blonde White, if it truly resembles the Belgian wheat beer style. But several sips of its low-carb cellar mate, Pure Blonde, point the other way.

And the new citrus-flavoured Carlton Dry Fusion Black seems also to be targeted at non-traditional beer drinkers.

We’re witnessing one of the biggest shifts ever in brewing – as brewers are asked to straddle two worlds: the ancient craft of brewing and the new world of manufacturing beverages to meet shifting consumer tastes.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2010

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