According to market research agency Mintel, the gluten-free market has grown 63% from 2012 to 2014. People have begun to give up gluten, the proteins found in cereal grains, because of both medical reasons and perceived health benefits. It is because of the increasing popularity of the gluten-free lifestyle that restaurants have decided to widen their menu to offer gluten-free options beyond food to beverage selections.
“Gluten-free” is one of the top three nutritional buzzwords that can be found on a restaurant’s menu by consumers. Currently, most restaurants serve cider as an option to those who may suffer with gluten-sensitivity or are trying to avoid it for health gain. Brands like Angry Orchard or Johnny Appleseed Hard Cider have grown in popularity within the gluten-free niche but also with audiences all around. However, as the gluten-free realm has began to grow, beer companies are now launching gluten-free beer choices.
Beer producers are becoming extremely interested in the $4.2 billion market of the gluten-free population. Brewers have turned to options other than wheat (such as sorghum and millet) during the production process in order to produce a beer that gives the same quality as those that include gluten. Some have even tried a method of removing the protein from the beer after the brewing process has been completed. One example is MillerCoors, who just this year released Coors Peak Copper Lager, its first gluten-free beer. Instead of wheat they use a brown rice malting method, adding in hops and caramelized sugar to help the character and brightness of the beer. Coors isn’t the first brand to introduce gluten-free beer and with the rapidly increasing market, sure won’t be the last.
In order to bring in more customers, restaurants need to figure out a way to implement gluten-free beverages that balance taste and affordability. Most beers that are gluten-free tend to be a little more pricey, due to the extra time and care that go into the product. The majority of gluten-free beers taste just like the real deal, so restaurants can look into experimenting with various brands in order to stock the type that best reflects their establishment. Gluten-free options have began to appear in different styles, from ales to IPAs. Introducing gluten-free options can be an easy way to build sales while showing that you acknowledge people’s health preferences.