The chewable candy Sour Patch advertises with the tag line “Sour. Sweet. Gone.,” to portray how people crave its sour, then sweet taste. Although a different type of consumable, sour beverages, and particularly sour beers, increasingly are becoming something consumers crave.
Sour flavors are more likely to be associated with drinking kombucha; however, an increasing amount of craft brewers are experimenting with sour and tart flavors, experts note.
In an October 2018 blog post titled “Will sour beers lead to sweet success?,” Jenny Zegler, associate director of Mintel Food & Drink, explains how even though the number of launches of sour-flavored beers remain relatively small globally, they are on the rise.
“Sour beers are appealing to those with adventurous flavor preferences, but the tart brews are also attracting attention for delivering refreshment suited for hot weather and post-exercise consumption,” Zegler writes.
The analyst uses Dogfish Head Brewery and its SeaQuench Ale Session Sour as an example. “According to Dogfish Head, SeaQuench Ale has become the fastest growing beer in the craft brewery’s 23-year history,” she writes.
SeaQuench was recognized by fitness magazines such as Sports Illustrated and Men’s Health magazine, which named it the Best Low-Calorie Beer in 2017 and 2018, she notes.
Sour beers also can target kombucha fans, Zegler writes. “In the U.S., kombucha is consumed by one-in-five older millennials and one-in-10 younger millennials,” she says. “More brewers can target kombucha fans by emulating kombucha flavors.”
To put this into perspective, Zegler references brewers who make “hybrid” products like Rogue Ale & Spirits who created Kulture Clash, an imperial blonde ale blended with kombucha tea from Brew Dr. Kombucha.
As sour profiles continue to become more popular in the beverage world, it will be interesting to see whether more craft brewers will hop on board the sour flavor train.