So, you want to innovate in beer recipes – here are some hints to help you get that beer you always want to brew.
- Look at the market, do your homework. Analysis is the key.
- Look for gaps in the market or is there a market in the gap? For example, Kombucha is a growing market so perhaps there is a gap for an alcoholic kombucha? See what is emerging and get in quickly.
- Innovation is a collaboration between the brewer and marketeer. The brewer, creates gaps by ingredient and process innovation. The marketing function identifies gaps by analysis, observation and luck. One such collaboration was in the 1980’s when technology introduced the widget to the can. The gap was to produce low carbonated beer for the home when it was only available in the pub.
How do you innovate as a production brewer?
- Try many different beers. Analyse what goes into the beer you are drinking as best as you can. Make notes on what you have drunk as soon as possible. Memory and beer don’t go together.
- Involve the whole team as more points of view produces better ideas. It is surprising what comes out of people’s imagination, even if it is just a good name. For me, the name is the hard part of recipe formulation.
- Visit as many breweries as you can to see what other people are doing. This will broaden your outlook and you will see solutions to problems you may well have.
- Initially develop beers on small scale as it will save costs. You won’t feel so guilty on using unusual ingredients. Firstly, check the ingredients are not harmful.
- Test these beers on as many people as you can. The wider the customer base the better the feedback.
- Do collaborative brews. You will learn from other brewers and form relationships where you can swap recipes and ideas.
- Allow the team to develop their own beers and give credit to them. People get a real buzz seeing their beer on the bar.
- If you can, do travel. Often other countries will be innovating well before you.
- Don’t be frightened to resurrect old recipes. As a veteran brewer the brewing scene does come round in cycles.
- If you openly copy an idea get the originator’s permission. This industry is small and we all talk. Reputation is everything.
I am sure there are more ways of developing products or recipes so if you want to share please do. Brewlab do a series of training modules which are practical in nature these not only help you develop your skills but will help you develop that winning beer.
Written by Brian Yorston, Course Manager at Brewlab.Return to Brewlab blog