The hottest beer brands for 2020

January 6, 2020
By Alana House

Drinks Trade’s 2020 Hottest 100 Brands represent a blend of big name brands and lesser known newcomers and the beer category is no different.

Drinks Trade joined with IRI Aztec to reveals the best performing brands in beer, searching by growth (in litres), percentage against the previous years’ volume and, when required, overlaying this with value growth.

From established names such as Great Northern and Hahn Ultra Crisp to up and comers such as Byron Bay Brewing and new entrant Two Suns, the stand-out brews in the beer category show brands that boldly innovate and those eager to challenge the order of things offer the opportunity to grab additional revenue. 

In the Hottest Beer Brands premium sector, cans continue to excite.   

Great Northern Brewing Co Super Crisp Lager saw 21,979,000 litres growth , a 29.3%, with the brand’s growth driven at 77% by the 375ml can x 30 pack format. 

The Iron Jack full-strength can is also generating a significant portion of the brand’s growth, which is running at 7,419,000 litres.

Frothy has seen 1,502,000 litres growth, with a panellist noting: “What an entrant, the Frothy Can is accounting for almost 60% of brand’s total growth.”

Cans are also booming in craft. Mountain Goat is up 1,332,000 litres, with 67% of this new brand volume growth being generated by its 375ml can x 4-pack format. 

For Balter Brewing XPA, growth is up 102.9% to 414,000 litres, with almost 60% of brand’s growth is driven by the 375ml can x 4-pack format.

Kaiju Krush Tropical Pale Ale was up a whopping 690.1% to 173,000 litres, with the 375ml can x 6-pack format generating 79% of brand’s growth. 

And Young Henrys Newtowner Ale is up 70.2% to 329,000, with 67% of the brand’s performance driven by 375ml cans in six and four-pack format.  

Stubbies still driving growth

The number one largest volume craft beer brand – James Squire 150 Lashes Pale Ale – saw its performance driven by the 345ml stubbie in pack format. It was up 16.4% to 2,141,000 litres.

James Squire Australian Drinks Awards

It’s been an exciting 12 months for the brand, which also took out Fan Favourite (Craft) at the 2019 Australian Drinks Awards.

The Coopers Dry 355ml stubbie was described as a “stand out performer in store” with 2,496,000 litres growth; while the Coopers Session Ale was up 130.6% to 1,547,000 litres, with the 375ml x 6-pack format driving 46% of growth.   

Other highlights included Hahn Ultra Crisp, which enjoyed 1,838,000 litres growth, with 75% of the brand’s performance driven by its stubbie. 

Furphy was up 88.2% with 9,193,000 litres growth, with the 375ml stubbie generating 46% of it.

In the no-alcohol market, Carlton Zero generated $1,544,000. The panel said: “The Carlton Zero stubbie is a hit in the zero market, driving driving 59% of brand’s growth – clever NPD.” 

New and noteworthy

Byron Bay Brewery Premium Lager went national in September 2019 and was an instant hit.

Head Brewer Alastair Gillespie first brewed the lager as a seasonal beer to refresh the locals and quickly it became the beer of choice at the venue.

Due to its local success, Byron Bay Brewery’s parent company Lion – which bought the brewery in 2016 – expanded its distribution.

One Hottest Beer Brands panellist noted: “The Byron Bay launch has been huge, and I believe this will be a big player across summer into Easter and will have legs in the younger demographic for the best part of next year.” 

Two Suns beer

Asahi’s new beer Two Suns was also flagged as a beer brand to watch. Its release was the No.2 story on Drinks Trade digital in 2019.

The panel said: ‘Two Suns is an easy drinking lager that brings together both international and premium Australian drinkers, giving it the potential to capture a significant share of the market.”

Drinks Trade Summer 2020

Click here to read the full 2020 Hottest Beer Brands Report.


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