American researchers distinguish between 150 types of beer in the world but we need to bring down the number to some 20 types. Otherwise consumers won’t find their way, says professor Paul Aerts (KU Leuven) at a four days conference in Ghent on beer.
The variety of brands and types of beers is the theme of the 12th conference on “Trends in brewing”. The American chemistry professor Paul Hughes from Oregon State University pointed out the problem yesterday (5 April): too many types of beers lead to confusion.
“Everyone has its own style but the consumer gets lost,” said professor Paul Aerts, head of a department for industrial engineering. “Brewers take advantage of the lack of clarity in their marketing. Many consumers are passionate about beer but how many can still find their way?”
According to Professor Aerts, it would be more effective to work with a dozen types of beer and subcategories. This would benefit the revival of craft beer which has become a fact. “The young generation of brewers has energized the profession”.
“The Americans are brewing more and more special beers. Belgian brewers should be paying attention,” the professor added. Monitoring quality, innovation and deciding on brewing in the US or paying more attention to transport are some of the challenges for exporting Belgian brewers.
Finally, some new trends are observed as experiments with new varieties of “hop”, fermentations with wooden casks (like with wine and whiskey) or the addition of wood chips during fermentation. There is also an evolution in glasses, including a tendency to smaller glasses. “Enjoying a beer, not drinking, is the future,” professor Aerts said.