- AB InBev, Harpoon, Dogfish Head and Founders, among other breweries, are rolling out beers with flavors better suited to the morning and hosting brunches to entice people to consider beer at a new time of day, according to The Wall Street Journal.
- Restaurants are finding that beer in the morning can appeal to consumers who crave unique flavors and don't want the high alcoholic content in traditional vodka or champagne-based drinks at an early hour.
- Around six in 10 Americans are likely to drink alcohol with their weekend brunch, and 21% say they drink beer at brunch, the paper said, citing Nielsen CGA.
The decline in beer sales accelerated in 2016, dropping 1.8% compared with a five-year decline rate of 0.6%, according to IWSR, which tracks the alcohol industry. At the same time, sales of hard alcohol — such as gin, tequila and whiskey — rose 0.04%. Mixed drinks, like pre-made cocktails, surged 1.6%.
The industry is wise to look for ways expand the marketplace for beer and the time at which people consume it. McDonald's, in a similar vein, expanded its popular breakfast menu beyond its traditional morning hours and saw impressive returns as a result. In this case, it's both craft brewers and the big players like AB InBev who are eager to tap into this growing market.
“We’re looking for occasions that beer isn’t already a part of,” Christina Perozzi, education director for Goose Island Beer Co., owned by Anheuser-Busch, told The Wall Street Journal.
The growing selection of beers with bold and authentic flavors like fruity and spicy provide numerous pairing options to go with breakfast food or even mix with another type of nonalcoholic beverage, much like the weekend brunch staple mimosa, made from orange juice and champagne.
The key for the beer industry is to create new brews that not only taste good but are compatible with what breakfast-goers eat each morning. It's unlikely beer will make inroads with on-the-go consumers rushing to work, but it is primed for significant growth on weekends, especially among millennials eating brunch at their favorite restaurant.
Beer companies will need work more to promote the idea of pairing the beverage with breakfast, and may need to go the extra mile to convince restaurants that may be reluctant to make the move or hadn't previously thought of doing it. Companies could do this by sponsoring events, beer pairings and working with wholesales that distribute products to the establishments.