I was intrigued to follow the latest new product development in beer. Looking for new innovative uses for its King Red Split Lentils AGT Foods first approached Saskatchewan based Rebellion Brewing Co. to challenge the VP and Brewmaster to make a craft beer from its lentils. And so Lentil Cream Ale was born. AGT have recently repeated this model of partnering with a craft brewery passionate about use of local produce, this time with Lobethal Bierhaus in South Australia. The home market for Australian pulses is small, not being a large part of the local diet, so a local use for a largely exported food was appealing to AGT. In a process not dissimilar to our own approach they’ve started with small experimental batches, getting early feedback and adapting the process in response to the insight. When I worked on our Hoppier project, testing new ways to bring a personalised brew to the consumer, we certainly had no shortage of Cambridge Consultant volunteers to help refine our innovation!
So will the consumer be put off by the thought of drinking lentils? I think not, the craft beer drinker has always been open to slightly off-the-wall ingredients. Moreover, the chance to combine lentil with ingredients such as sorghum in place of barley opens up the increasingly lucrative market of gluten-free and gluten-reduced beers. The distinction between the two labels is in the raw ingredients and chemical or enzymatic processing, and is regulated, however, with an estimated 3 million people in the US alone with celiac disease, greater awareness and an increased following of diets avoiding gluten, these innovative products enable more tasty beer all round!
This is not the first innovative use of pulses in the beverage sector. Ground and roasted chickpeas have been used since the 18th century with current brands such as the Puerto Rican Machotes and various wellness websites offering home recipes to create this caffeine-free coffee substitute. Another coffee alternative popular in China, Korea and Japan is roasted barley tea, which loops us nicely back to beer! Cheers!
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