The “most brewed” style of craft beer in 2018 was IPA, according to a newly-released report on Southeast Asian microbreweries prepared by the team behind Southeast Asia’s biggest independent brewers conference and trade fair, SEA Brew.

The report is the result of market research undertaken by the team at SEA Brew, with over 100 of the region’s brewers and brewery owners surveyed, and contains a complete review of the market, including future trends, current growth factors and comprehensive analysis.

An extract from the report obtained from SEA Brew recognises the strong North American influence on the global micro-brewing industry, resulting in the unsurprising news that hoppy IPAs and pale ale’s dominated the list of most brewed styles of craft beer in the Southeast Asia region in 2018.

Surprisingly, the report states, is that golden ales find themselves far down the order of most popular beer styles, especially given that brewpubs and taprooms in this part of the world will typically offer a golden ale in place of a lager, because it’s generally acknowledged that good lager is hard to produce and takes longer to ferment than a golden ale.

The SEA Brew report reveals that wheat beers (Belgian wit and German weizen styles) are popular, likely because they are milder and favoured more by drinkers not into the hoppy bitterness of IPAs.

Moreover, it was found that this style of beer is often “localised” through the addition of local fruit or herbs – think Pasteur Street Brewing Co.’s Passionfruit Wheat Ale from Vietnam or Singapore’s Red Dot Brewhouse Lime Wheat.

Traditional beer styles still dominate the ‘Top 10’ most popular brews, as expected in a young market, and are forecast to remain so for the foreseeable future until breweries “have stabilised their businesses and the marketplace is ready to accept new variants,” says the report.

“For now, extreme beer styles like hoppy, hazy New England IPAs will remain “passion projects” for brewers”

SEA Brew Report 2018

Further, experimentation continues to keep things super interesting for consumers as brewers tinker with new styles as their skills improve and local palates mature and develop a thirst for varying craft beer styles.

Beers like hoppy, hazy New England IPAs and lighter session IPAs, as well as sour beers, are creeping into the recipe books of local brewers, although it’s expected that it will be some time before these beer styles crack it into the pointy end of most popular beer style lists, that’s if, the report states, it ever happens.

For now, these more extreme styles of beer remain what the SEA Brew team refer to as “passion projects” for as long as the profile of the typical beer drinker in Asia remains one of being conservative and doesn’t stray too far from their “flavour comfort zone”.

The report extract concludes by stating that most brewers throughout the region remain focused on their core range of beers – with many still perfecting their recipes – with the main aim being to develop market share and recognition before attempting to introduce a rotating selection of new flavours.

For access to the full report, click HERE

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