Despite a growth rate of over 50%, Matthew Clark’s Boutique Beers portfolio is likely to continue to grow, says beer & cider category manager, Justin Wylde, purely due to ‘demand from our customers’.
Speaking exclusively to Imbibe at the group’s annual Boutique Beers and Cider House Collection trade show in London’s Hyde Park, Wylde said that people were ‘crying out for’ styles like gose, tropical IPAs and black IPAs – ‘the ones that used to be the best kept secret’.
Boutique Beers now represents some 15-20% of Matthew Clark’s beer revenue, with over 270 beers in total, an increase of 100 on 2016. Last year, one-in-five Matthew Clark customers ordered from the portfolio. This year over a third did so.
The packaged and draft-on-keg split is 50:50, with keykeg showing particular growth, due to its functionality and one-way capability.
In food-led outlets, packaged styles are growing, said Wylde. Gluten-free illustrates this trend, reflecting the growth in the g-f food sector. ‘We carry the Bellfield beers and Daura Marzan,’ added Wylde.
Looking to the future, the beer & cider category manager sees further development in the IPA cateogry. With 50 already on his books, notable new faces include Wylam’s Jakehead IPA, Sierra Nevada’s Torpedo, and our own IPA Challenge winner, Transmission, from North Brewing Co.
Wylde cites the New England style as one to watch, whether it’s US imports or British interpretations – ‘“the haze craze” as we call it,’ he said.
Look out for barrel-aged beers too.
On the cider front, 30 new ciders have been added to the Cider House Collection, including the group’s own Whipstitch, crafted by Aston Manor, in both apple and fruit flavours. Wylde expects more interest in single varietal ciders, particularly those made from dessert fruit.
International and fruit ciders remain areas to watch, and hopped ciders are a key trend, according to Wylde, who has added in two, including the subtle but moreish Sandford Orchards St Louis collaboration with Schiafly Brewery of St Louis, USA.