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Why the rise of Cherry Chouffe marks a move away from IPA trends

Cherry Chouffe is being rolled out further across British supermarkets as demand for non-IPA beer styles increases among consumers.

The 8% ABV Belgian beer has just been launched into Tesco stores in a move that follows it already being stocked in Waitrose and Booths nationwide, giving the brand greater presence to beer fans and consumers who were previously unfamiliar with the brand and style.

Speaking to the drinks business, Duvel Moortgat UK head of sales Laurens Nies said: “We’ve witnessed a growing popularity for sour and fruit-infused beers, it’s a totally different offering compared to the usual bitter beers like IPAs, and therefore provides as an option for people who prefer more subtle, sweet or sour tasting beers.”

At the start of 2024, db looked into how the trend for drinking highly hopped IPAs was waning, with it becoming increasingly evident that consumers were seeking balance and differentiation on shelf and in pubs and bars. Speculating over the way drinking trends were changing, independent Yorkshire brewer T&R Theakston’s joint managing director Richard Bradbury flagged to db that “the market is potentially saturated for New World IPAs” and hinted how this in itself presented the beer industry with an opportunity to showcase other beer styles. Despite this development, a report last November suggested that there were a few roadblocks to this, with two core contradictory trends seemingly rising in tandem with the consumer trend for “variety over volume” being largely at odds with the brewing sector’s efforts to become more sustainable.

Regardless of the shifts in consumer values, the desire for flavoursome beers has continued unabated and although Cherry Chouffe has been available in pubs and bars for “multiple years” on both draught and in packaged formats, the beer brand’s greater presence on supermarket shelves has now shown that drinkers are seeking out variation in beer when out shopping too.

Indicating how it is always quick to react to beer trends, last summer, Duvel Moortgat additionally revealed that its non-alcoholic variant of La Chouffe had become available in Asda stores after it had witnessed “a significant increase in the demand for non-alcoholic beers” — a buying pattern that was reiterated in the 2022-23 Waitrose & Partners Food & Drink Report which revealed Generation Z’s demand for no- and low-alcohol drinks.

La Chouffe is the most popular beer produced by Brewery Achouffe and features the red capped gnome which has been a defining feature of the brewery since it hit the market in the early 1980s. The brewery began as a hobby project between brothers-in-law Pierre Gobron and Chris Bauweraerts in the latter’s mother-in-law’s garage the late 1970s and the duo produced its first ‘commercial’ batch (of just 49 litres) in 1982. By 1986 the beer brand had become so popular the family was able to buy the farm where it all started. The Belgian beer brand was bought by the Duvel Moortgat group in 2006 and launched in cans into the UK market back in 2020.

Following its popularity, the variant Cherry Chouffe has seen success in Britain across the on-trade already and Nies has named Brewhouse & Kitchen venues as a key group for its bottle sales with the plan is to broaden its reach further now and encourage further trial across the off-trade.

Cherry Chouffe is made with pale barley malt and uses Saaz and Styrian Golding hops along with sour cherry juice in each brew.

Nies told db: “Our aim is to make Cherry Chouffe available to as many people in the UK as possible – once people have tried its unique flavour profile, we’re confident that they will come back for more.”

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