A Global Data report shows that 47% of consumers find the concept of pairing food and beer appealing, leaving it behind only wine in terms of popularity.
Joan Roca, chef of Girona’s three Michelin-starred El Celler de Can Roca – twice voted the world’s best restaurant – told DRN: “Beer gives diversity and complexity and it is being used more in our pairings.
“Beer has so many opportunities because of its soft palate flavour, and it is bitter and sweet at the same time. This makes it versatile and it can be used with so many different pairings.
“I don’t think it can ever replace wine in our Mediterranean cuisine, because our culture has a very long tradition with wine pairing and not beer, but Estrella pairs very well with tapas and that is a big opportunity.”
Estrella has teamed up with Roca to produce a Food & Drinks Trends report, which, among other things, highlights the growing use of botanicals in drinks. The chef was in Manchester to present his ideas at a gastronomy congress.
“I like working with Estrella not only because it’s Catalan, but it does things well,” said Roca. “It supports the gastronomy business and it’s very refreshing. ”
James Healey, Estrella Damm’s UK manager, added: “Gastronomy is a key focus for Estrella Damm and we celebrate beer’s place as the ideal beverage for pairing or cooking across a multiplicity of foods and dishes.
“Working with the talented and creative chef Joan Roca this year has identified transparency and the wellness of our planet as key trends for 2018, which is very exciting for us, in line with our own business ethos, and a key opportunity for food and drinks businesses in the UK.
“Estrella Damm has been brewed using local Mediterranean ingredients and the original recipe since 1876, so it’s great to see that knowing where your food and drinks come from is becoming important not only to us and restaurateurs but also to consumers.”
Marston’s now distributes Estrella in the UK after buying Charles Wells last year, and it sits alongside Erdinger and Kirin in an intriguing world beer portfolio.
The brewer’s insight executive, James Hodgkinson, said: “Although mainstream lager dominates the category, it is world beer which remains the category success story.
“Consumers are discovering and becoming attracted to more premium, less ubiquitous brands, drinks with an authentic image and unique taste profiles which differ to other lagers.
“It is also becoming a credible premium beverage to accompany quality meals, as opposed to an affordable drink for relaxation.
“This can be done via premium packaging, positioning as a connoisseurs’ drink or greater focus on taste notes and how they can improve foods or food’s flavours.”