Props to Hops: A New Generation of Hops-laden Beverages
Younger generations have become more judicious when making decisions about beverages, and many are driven by a deeper understanding of their individual biological needs coupled with the cumulative impact of making unhealthy choices regarding their diet. While most consumers don’t indulge in beer for the benefits associated with hops, some research indicates that these flowers may be used to treat a variety of ailments ranging from arthritis to diabetes and even insomnia. The expectation of ingredients that have inherent function also continues to drive innovation, especially in beverages, as consumers demand the efficient and convenient delivery of nutrients that address a variety of need-states.
While a variety of botanicals have surfaced as contenders (with many finding success in both delivering on flavor and function), an ancient player is now being re-imagined beyond the beer category. In addition to seeing more zero-alcohol beers hit the market, this brain-cell protecting plant is available in teas, waters, and we predict will appear in several other categories as consumers look for a familiar, refreshing taste, without the adverse effects associated with over-indulging on beer. Here are a few hops-infused beverages that should be on your radar as you consider capitalizing on the bitter, fruity and earthy notes endemic to hops for your next beverage:
- Non-alcoholic beers: Heineken launched a zero-alcohol beer with only 69 calories at the beginning of 2019. Leffe 0.0% (owned by AB InBev) is the first Belgian beer whose alcohol is removed after the fermentation process. All-Free, an alcohol AND calorie-free version of beer, from Suntory, was sampled at the 2019 Winter Fancy Foods Show and is available in select cities throughout California.
- Hoplark HopTea: This Boulder-based sparkling tea brand, now available in Whole Foods, touts the crisp bite of hops, with an incredibly condensed ingredient statement. With varieties inspired by the type of tea, hops and intensity, their portfolio includes The Really Hoppy One, The Green Tea One, The Calm One, The White Tea One and The Original One. Citra, mosaic, Simcoe and lemondrop hops varieties are featured across this line of beverages.
- Hop water: H2Ops, Oregon Hop Springs and Hopwater all offer a hop-infused waters – some intended to be enjoyed as a single-serve beverage, while others are positioned as alternatives to traditional cocktail mixers. Hopwater’s products maintain a short ingredient statement across their flavored varieties, which include ginger, grapefruit and lime.
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