By Spiros Malandrakis, Euromonitor International

Having already given its craft beer predictions for 2017, market research company Euromonitor International has now offered Beer & Brewer  readers its key brewing predictions for the year – with homebrewing dubbed as “the next frontier”.

Microbrewing: From high hops to turf war

In mature western markets, with city councils and local authorities currently funding craft projects as lavish centrepieces of their ambitious urban gentrification initiatives, private equity ultimately pushing for returns on their once ‘angelic’ investments and major retailers adding their own fantasy brands to already overflowing aisles , the sense of irrational exuberance is palpable.

As tongue-in-cheek, controversial or post ironic brand names dry out faster than a shipment of cascade hops back in 2015, once noble competition will turn to fierce antagonism. The continued march of canned offerings, a renewed emphasis on brewpubs and taprooms, a shift to more sessionable segments and away from the ubiquity of IPAs will be the weapons of choice for the upcoming battle to gain a foothold on a national level and beyond respective localities. That race towards the middle ground will define the next chapters in microbreweing’s evolution while inevitably leaving casualties on the side-lines.

On the other hand, the micro trend is still in its infancy in emerging markets where it has not yet been tainted by commoditisation and the metropolitan centres of China, India and Brazil will fully embrace hyper local alternatives – all the while providing the potential for the cross-pollination of styles, brewing techniques and ingredients.

Homebrewing: The next frontier

With table-top devices democratising the home-brewing process and macro brewers incorporating the segment in their strategic plans for vertical integration, nano and home have the potential to become the new micro. Connectivity, customisation, affordability and an open architecture will be key for home brewing appliances to cross into the mainstream.

Collaborations and support by as wide a range of brewers as possible, flexibility in ingredients and synergies allowing for experimentation and personalisation will be the deciding factors in unlocking the segment’s full, untapped potential.

Imports: Another brick in the wall?

As nationalistic undercurrents reshape the political discourse across the globe, alliances are broken or reassessed and trade barriers, walls and punitive taxation initiatives are rearing their heads – imports are on the firing line.

Historically providing a much needed shot in the arm for mature or saturated markets beyond the much vaunted micro segment, imports can prove to be among the victims of the confrontational rhetoric and growing distrust towards the offerings of globalisation monopolising the public sphere in their respective markets.

Spiros Malandrakis conducts in-depth analysis into the alcoholic drinks industry at Euromonitor International, where he monitors key industry trends and issues on a year-round basis and is responsible for the writing of comment pieces, reports and analysis, which provide detailed insight into key drivers, trends and the state of the industry.

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