In recent years, consumer preferences have evolved significantly. Today’s consumers are more inclined toward mindful consumption- drink lesser but drink better, and are eager to experiment with new varieties of beer. With Qatar banning the sale of beer at this year’s FIFA world cup, we can’t think but talk about our favourite drink. Premiumization has come up as a trend that is here to stay, leading brands have witnessed an evident affinity amongst young consumers for low- and no-alcohol beers and craft beers. We get talking to two market leaders Heineken and Budweiser.
Gen Z and young consumers favour smooth beer tastes
“At Heineken, we pride ourselves on being an open-minded, forward-thinking brand. We listen to our consumers and keep up with ever-changing taste preferences across all generations. We’ve taken the time to sit down with our consumers, hosting focus groups and tasting sessions with our target audience to hear what they think. Leveraging these insights, we know that many younger consumers want easy-to-drink beer and Heineken Silver has been brewed in response to this demand,” says Rajeev Sathyesh, Asia-Pacific director, Heineken.
In India, modern consumers are seeking beverages that are light, easy-to-drink and fit in well with their social occasions. “Our latest beer innovation provides this new generation of consumers with a premium, smooth-tasting beer that helps them break away from stuffy social situations and refresh everyday drinking moments. We are confident that it will also appeal to the new generation of beer drinkers in India and will herald a new era of premiumisation in the Indian beer market,” adds Sathyesh.
Budweiser took the demand for beer a notch higher with launching ‘The Art of Drinking’ campaign in August 2022, a unique initiative that reimagines “drinking” as an art form (vs a sport) that can be mastered and learned to ensure that every drinking experience is a positive one. “At Budweiser, we are cognizant of our audiences’ evolving choices and cater to them through our growing portfolio of beverages and by equipping consumers with the necessary information to enjoy our offerings. The Art of Drinking goes much beyond responsible consumption because Smart Drinking is not a compromise, but a way of life that empowers consumers to enjoy to the fullest,” says Vineet Sharma, VP marketing – South Asia, AB InBev. Influencers, trade partners and consumers joined the conversation to share their tips and tricks to own the night.
Discuss the culture of drinking beer in Asia Pacific and where India stands?
Asia Pacific region continues to dominate global beer consumption. It is expected to be the largest market for beer, accounting for more than 40% of the global demand in 2025. Increased disposable income and evolving consumer preferences in the Asia Pacific region will drive this category’s growth in the next few years. We are excited to see a large number of GenZ’s and women participation in this increased growth.
“In India, the premium and super premium segments account for an increasing market share and are growing faster compared to the other APAC countries. The high growth rate for beer in India exists despite a low per capita consumption and therefore, the country presents incredible potential. With consumers’ preferences changing post-pandemic, beer has continued to grow as an experiential product. The beverage is consumers’ go-to choice not only during social and/or cultural gatherings but also as a part of their meals. After two years of being at home, people are looking forward to a lot of celebrations and outdoor festivals. This provides an opportunity for us to engage with them meaningfully by curating best-in-class experiences for our consumers,” adds Sharma.
Sathyesh feels India is a hugely underpenetrated market for beer and there is huge room to grow this. “We will keep refreshing our product portfolio based on the changing taste preferences of our consumers here. Compared to India’s per capita consumption of beer at 2 litres per annum, other key APAC markets are 10 to 20 times higher and Western markets are 30 to 40 times higher right now. India is one of the critical markets for us, where we expect beer consumption to grow led by factors such as hot climate, young demographic, rise in disposable income and increase in market penetration,” he adds.
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