Better-for-you brews

Tribe Breweries is promoted as one of Australia’s largest independent brewers. It claims to be home to the largest number of independent craft beers as a contract brewer and also has a stable of its own brands.

With its Wilde brand, says Marketing Director Cameron MacFarlane, Tribe’s ambition is for it to be the leading Australian brand in the better-for-you beverage space.

“Traditionally, Wilde had been a gluten-free beer brand,” he says, “but today, we’re wanting it to be so much more, positioning it [as a range of] ‘better-for-you brews’.”

This has been backed by the recent rebranding and repackaging of the core gluten-free beer products, and the launch of Wilde Guru Sparkling Hop Water and Wilde Isotonic, the latter being marketed as Australia’s first brewed isotonic non-alcoholic electrolyte drink.

According to Tribe Breweries, the Wilde Isotonic product is a healthier non-alcoholic beer or sports drink alternative that, instead of dehydrating the drinker, it puts lost electrolytes and vitamins back into the body post exercise.

“Unlike any other sports drinks or electrolyte beers on the market, Wilde Isotonic is naturally brewed, and due to its tonicity, it can be absorbed much faster in the bloodstream,” says the brewer. “It’s made with more complex carbohydrates and has 50% less sugar than other standard sports drinks.”

Leading trends

With the trend towards healthier lifestyles, Mr MacFarlane says consumers are searching for better-for- you options across most consumer food and beverage products.

“Suppliers and retailers are supporting this ongoing trend with many varied options,” he says.

Addressing the alcohol category, Mr MacFarlane says an impact of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and extended lockdowns has been consumers seeking low and no alcohol options as a way to “curb over-excessing that’s come with the extra time they’ve had to kill”.

“Consumers are also now searching for more functional beverages with benefits (ie, no/low, low calories, gluten free, low sugar, less waste) that not only taste good, but [also] make them feel good for making that choice,” he says.

“Another big trend is that consumers are also demanding more quality, variety, and better taste from the drinks themselves. For example, today, non-alcoholic beers are surprisingly great tasting, with little compromise, compared with two to three years ago. Craft brewers have developed non-alcoholic options to taste more [like] a standard lager, so the consumer can’t tell they’re not drinking alcohol.”

Advice for retailers

“Over-index in focus, space and education to promote growth in these growing niches,” Mr MacFarlane advises retailers, urging them to “push the boundaries” and back innovations even if they don’t always succeed.

“It’s all about coming together to be creative, agile and adjusting accordingly,” he says.

The future

Tribe Breweries is researching global trends, watching what’s happening locally, testing new ingredients and creating a long-term funnel of innovation to suit, says Mr MacFarlane.

“This supports our goal to be Australia’s leading better-for-you brewer,” he says, “creating an innovation pipeline of Wilde ‘better-for-you brews’ for consumers and our retail partners. Definitely watch this space!”

This article is published in the June issue of Convenience World.

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