Northern Lite-s: Mack Brewery looks to ride rising APAC interest in low-carb beers to tap premium markets

By Pearly Neo

- Last updated on GMT

Beer drinkers in Asia are steadily following the European trend of increasingly seeking low-carbohydrate products.
Beer drinkers in Asia are steadily following the European trend of increasingly seeking low-carbohydrate products.

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Beer drinkers in Asia are steadily following the European trend of increasingly seeking low-carbohydrate products, opening new opportunities for brands in the premium drinks segment.

Mack Brewery claims to be the ‘northernmost brewery’ in the world at 69°N latitude – Based in the city of Tromsø, Norway. it only uses water from the Lyngen Alps to brew its beer, allowing it to lay claim to premium status.

“This is all surface water and is very soft with no minerals or salt content as it has never been in the ground in addition to having a pH between 6.9 and 7.9 so the water is totally neutral, making it perfect to brew beer with,” ​Mack Brewery Export and Marketing Director Ken Stian Olsen told FoodNavigator-Asia​.

“Our beers are all premium quality [due to this] and we already do export to Australia and New Zealand, but are very interested to grow further in Asia.

“We know there is a lot of interest there as in Tromsø there are a lot of Asian tourists travelling to see the Northern Lights, and it is very common for them to buy our Isbjørn and Arctic beers as souvenirs to take home.

“The item we are particularly [keen on growing] is the have Isbjørn Lite, which is a low-carb version of the regular Isbjørn with 70% less carbohydrates and 30% less sugar – in Europe it is already growing at such a rate that we believe it will soon be our biggest brand there, and we know that it is already rapidly gaining popularity in Australia as well.”

Many alcohol trends tend to filter over from Western markets to the East, so the firm is hopeful that this will be similar for low-carb beer especially as it can offer an alternative for consumers seeking out lower-sugar, lower-gluten or even gluten-free options.

“I do think that this is also going to be a big trend in Asia, the key is to identify the right market,”​ he said.

“We can see that markets such as Thailand, Vietnam, Korea, China, these have all developed a specialised premium beer market, which our regular products already fall into due to needing to carry this from almost the top of the world to Asia, and low-carb will fall into this as well.

“We will be starting with just a few products here – Isbjørn, Isbjørn Lite and Arctic – so that Asian consumers can become more familiar with us, but we have a huge portfolio of many different beers including six that fall under the Lite category.

“Many of our products are fruity beers too, as fruity beers such as mango and yuzu have been trending in Norway – right now we are unsure whether the same appeal will hold for Asian consumers, but do believe that there is strong potential for low-carb to grow here.

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