Flavored malt beverages or FMBs are alcoholic beverages made up of much-diluted spirits, an original base, and lots of fruit flavors. These cocktails are often called the ‘malternatives’ or ‘alcopops’ in recent times.
The flavored malt culture is pretty famous in the U.S, hence, the production of alcopops has recently turned out to be huge in the country. It is regulated by the federal government of the U.S where the cocktails must have “25% malt with at least 7.5 pounds of hops per 100 barrel” and in the final beverage, at least 51% of alcohol should be derived from the base. Many other countries produce flavored malt beverages but none of them have such strict rules, unlike the U.S. It is because the alcohol taxations and rules vary from one country to another.
How did flavored malt beverages originate?
Flavored malt beverages have been initially launched during the 90s. It gradually became popular among consumers with time. Back then it had the same tax rate as beer whereas the other hard drinks had higher tax rates. The taste and the ready-to-drink quality caught the attention of the consumers. It has a clear, colorless malt base with corn syrup and flavors. Most importantly these beverages are unsweetened and hence healthier.
What is it about flavored malt beverages?
The flavored malt beverage market is full of innovation and a high churn. It completely depends on the flavors and the new launches of the season. The perfect balance of flavor and spirit makes the drink refreshing and popular among consumers.
The differences between beer and flavored malt beverages
The difference between beer and flavored malt beverages needs to be understood before getting into any further details. Malt beverages are fermented drinks in which one of the most significant ingredients is barley grains. Flavored malt beverages must have all the qualities mentioned before whereas beer is 0.5% alcohol. Also, beer is fermented by using yeast and has no flavor.
Both categories have gained worldwide popularity in the past decades. Although the federal government of the U.S has not announced any strict law regarding beer production unlike in the case of flavored malt beverages.
Why is this classification important?
Flavored malt beverages have a different fan base in the U.S with high demand. So, if a beverage qualifies to be a flavored malt beverage it is going to have a huge impact on the product from the perspective of marketing, tax, labeling, and distribution. A qualified flavored malt beverage fall under the TTB a.k.a the “Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau”, FDA a.k.a “Food and Drug Administration”, or both of it.
The creativity behind the production of the flavored malt beverages
The FMB companies keep coming up with various innovations, brewing methods, formulations, and marketing strategies. Some of the brands sell their products as flavored beer. They have unique marketing strategies. Some brands like to call their flavored malt beverages, craft beer. But it is quite clear to us that a beer and a flavored malt beverage are not the same. The process of manufacturing flavored malt beverages is pretty much like beer production but the malts go through various processing and treatments. The flavored malt beverages are made up of sparkling water, distilled liquor, and the natural extracts and essence of fruits. They are low on carbs and have only 100 calories per serving.
What is the future of flavored malt beverages?
It is needless to say that flavored malt beverages have already reached a height in the global market. It is most popular in the U.S and Canada. The successful marketing and the regulations by the government have made it even more popular among young consumers. The major key factor of flavored malt beverages is the constant innovation and new flavors. The companies come up with some exotic flavors in almost every season. This strategy is tempting and works well for consumers.
The FMB brands are using all these qualities as opportunities to broader their customer base. Other than the FMB brands, the spirit brands have also been quite beneficial by using the tax advantages of the FMB regulations.
People who choose flavors over beer are the target audience of the FMB brands. It is also because flavored malt beverages are comparatively healthier than other hard drinks. The spirit used in these beverages is much diluted and the added flavor helps make these cocktails smooth and refreshing for the consumers. The industry that manufactures flavored malt beverages has grown more than 3000% within a period of one year in 2015-2016. So, it is already established that the FMB market has a huge customer base that will keep increasing in the future.
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