Close Menu

Singapore craft breweries turn to creative flavours to attract drinkers

From playful labels to quirky riffs on local flavours, Singapore craft beer players employ a host of enticements to grab market share from the dominant market leaders.

In Singapore, the craft beer sector is on the rise. With a 4% market share, the new players are looking to sway beer drinkers away from the dominant market leader Tiger beer with innovative flavours, sustainable offerings, and attractive new-age packaging.

“In the past, craft beer was very technical,” said Mark Chen of Niang Brewery, who taps into “storytelling around local flavours” and calls on a combination of local lore and iconic Singapore dishes and experiences as inspirations for his beer offerings.

“I think what drives the craft beer business is to talk about flavours because flavours are easy to associate with.” Chen is known for Confection Cure, a pale ale inspired by Cheng Tng, a local dessert made with red dates and longan, which he recommends pairing with local roasted pork.

Qin Yang of Alive Brewery is making a play for non-beer drinkers. “I have observed that there are many non-beer drinkers who may not necessarily like classic beers made with the four core ingredients,” he said, “so we innovated to come up with beer products that even non-beer drinkers can enjoy.”

Alive Brewery introduced the Berry Smoothie beer with a heavy dose of raspberry and morello cherry pulp to attract a younger market and also cashed into the chocolate beer trend with The Chocolate Bomb, an imperial stout made with “ridiculous amounts” of premium Belgian chocolate.

At Sunbird Brewing Company, Clive Tan produces seasonal and festival-themed beers to attract first-time drinkers, like the Ondeh-Ondeh Porter, inspired by a local pastry delicacy made with coconut palm sugar Gula Melaka, coconut and pandan.

On the other side of town, Food waste fighters, Crust group upcycle apple peel and breads to craft their line of artisanal beers and tap into local flavours of Kaya toast (kaya is a decadent jam made from coconut flesh) to create their bestseller, Kaya Toast stout.

The craft microbreweries mushroomed during the pandemic and tapped into the broad spectrum of beer styles and colourful pop-culture labels to grab consumer attention.

“Today, you see so many imported brands in the supermarket, and there are probably over 30 Singapore craft beer brands,” said Tan Wee Tuck of the Easy and Light Group, which owns Brewerkz Microbreweries, the oldest craft brewery in Singapore.

“Not only have craft beer brands increased, but so has the number of channels. There are many more e-commerce platforms now, and you see lots of restaurants, hotels, and bars offering craft beer instead of commercial beers.”

It looks like you're in Asia, would you like to be redirected to the Drinks Business Asia edition?

Yes, take me to the Asia edition No