Interesting trends arise from the latest Beer Barometer report. These include, amongst others, an increase in beer consumption at cocktail parties, and a rise in the consumption of strong golden ales and microbeers.
Beer is Belgians’ preferred drink in cafés or at home. However it also meets with increasing success on the least expected occasions. Nearly four in ten Belgians say that beer is their beverage of choice during a cocktail party, compared with 35% who prefer champagne. This is per the 12th Beer Barometer compiled by Beer & Society. This year is indeed the first year that the French drink has been overtaken by beer.
In restaurants, although wine remains the preferred drink for one in two consumers, beer is gaining in popularity in this environment. It is a tremendous success with some 38.6% respondents, compared to 18% ten years ago.
Pils remains the beer type which has the highest approval rating, amongst 27.5% of respondents. It has, however, lost ground against strong golden ales (16.8%) and products from local breweries and microbreweries (16.4%). These have gained ground over around a decade (having been at 6% in 2007).
Jean-Louis Van de Perre, the President of Belgian Brewers, says, “This ‘shift’ from pils to special beers has played out as a fact. It evidently has an impact on total volumes consumed.” Per official data, the consumption of pils, which still retains a 71% market share, reduced by 4.3% in 2016. At the same time, table beers (for example regional, strong lager beer and stout) have increased by 3.5%.
This year, for the first time, those producing the barometer questioned Belgians on non-alcoholic beers. More than 90% of those surveyed never consume them. Only 8.3% drink them regularly. The Beer Barometer stressed, “This is a trend that is observed in patches everywhere in Europe, and which is starting to develop in Belgium.
Some time ago, products in this range were not as attractive. However, brewers worked on this range. Nowadays, major sector players are investing heavily in non-alcoholic or low alcohol beers.”
Some 8,000 people took part in the survey. They were mainly men (81.8%). Two-thirds of participants were Flemish and one-third from French-speaking areas.