The direction of the beer industry in 2019 has been a hard turn toward hard waters and seltzers. Apparently, the market research and collective wisdom of the industry is that the reason behind this is for lighter and “healthier” choices in drinking.

Low carbohydrates, low alcohol and more non-traditional beer flavors is the direction of innovation driving today’s market. Here are some of the new products that have arrived on the shelves or will in the next six months.

MillerCoors has announced a bevy of new products to release during the first quarter of 2020, with a new line of wine spritzers called Movo, a new white peach sangria flavor of Cape Line Sparkling Cocktails, hard cold brewed coffee in conjunction with La Colombe Coffee, a lighter Blue Moon Belgian-style white ale called Light Sky Citrus Wheat, organic 92-calorie flavored light beers called Coors Peak; in citrus, berry and beer flavors, a 93-calorie beer-seltzer mixture from Leinekugel’s named Spritzen and a raspberry lime version of Keystone Light called Keylightful.

Independent/Craft breweries have been innovating, creating lower alcohol, lower carbohydrate and flavor forward beers for the past couple of years. Dogfish Head Brewing, now part of Boston Beer, has had success this year with the introduction of Slightly Mighty, a low-calorie India Pale Ale. By substituting monk fruit for some of the traditional malted barley, adding a fermentable sugar with zero caloric addition. With only 95 calories, 3.6g carbohydrates and 1g protein per 12oz can, it still delivers flavors of a big, tropical and citrus forward IPA.

Oskar Blues of Longmont, Colorado, part of the Canarchy brewery group, is releasing a 100-calorie Hazy IPA named One-y. This new 4.4-percent A.B.V. beer has a very light malt bill, with the use of wheat, keeps the mouthfeel from being too light. Heavy amounts of hops, both in the brew as well in the dry-hopping stage, allows the El Dorado, Comet, Citra, Mosaic and French Aramis to be the forward flavors, giving the aroma and flavors of a big IPA without the weight.

Bell’s Brewing of Comstock Park, Michigan has held the distinction of the best beer in the world three-years running with their Two Hearted Ale, according to the American Homebrewers Association magazine Zymurgy. That has not stopped the brewery from innovating. They are set to launch a new 3.7-percent A.B.V., 110 calorie and 8.7g carbohydrate lighter beer in early 2020 named Light Hearted Ale. Just like the original, Light Hearted will be a single hopped beer, using only Centennial hops. Look for an aggressive launch just after the New Year.

Other trends that will likely be prevalent in beer for 2020 will be more flavored hard seltzers, hard coffee-like beverages and more hybrid beer-fruit fusions. More craft milkshake IPA and pastry inspired beers are also likely to follow.

In states with legalized marijuana, breweries are currently experimenting with products, with and without THC and a fair amount of non-alcoholic THC beverages.

Matt Thomas is a cicerone at Gay’s Hops-N-Schnapps.

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