CHICAGO — Product developers are tapping into the popularity of craft beer with new snacks and confections that feature the foamy flavor. A handful of beer-inspired products debuted at the Sweets & Snacks Expo, held May 19-21 in Chicago.
Following the introduction of Jelly Belly’s draft beer jelly beans at last year’s show, several more brands have bellied up to the bar. Gringo Jack’s, a Manchester, Vt., maker of chips and salsas, partnered with a local brewery to develop a line of craft beer-inspired barbecue sauces. Made with brown sugar and natural smoke from chipotle chiles, varieties include coffee porter, honey brown ale and summer ale with citrus and ginger.
Another exhibitor at the show highlighted a line of baking and dip mixes made with beer. Molly & Drew The Beer Bread Co., Sac City, Iowa, introduced beer cake mixes in such varieties as toffee chocolate latte, dark and strawberry, butter, amaretto, lemon, egg nog, pumpkin and coconut. Add beer and an egg to create the cake; each mix includes the brand’s recipe for beer cream frosting.
Lir Chocolates, Navan County Meath, Ireland, showcased Guinness Luxury chocolate products, featuring the taste of the namesake stout. Belgium’s Chocolate Source, a Milton, Mass.-based importer of Belgian confections, unveiled ChocOBeer by Carré Chocolates, Flander’s, Belgium. The bottle-shaped Belgian chocolates contain liquid fillings flavored with Belgian beers, including fruity lambics and brown and blond ales.
From Inventure Foods, Phoenix, Nathan’s Famous Beer Battered Onion Rings are gluten-free, baked snacks with a crispy, crunchy texture. The product contains 140 calories per serving and zero trans fat.
On the way from Perky Jerky, the Greenwood, Colo.-based maker of premium meat snacks, is an ale-flavored jerky, according to a spokesperson at the show.
Expect the trend to spill into more categories. Bell Flavors and Fragrances, Northbrook, Ill., recently introduced a line of hand-crafted beer flavors for food and beverage applications. Flavors include IPA, stout, hard cider, Belgian-style ale, wheat beer and amber ale.“The beer industry has expanded to include many more industries like alcoholic beverages, sauces, meats, batters, bakery goods, confections to even ice cream,” said Sheila Harte, senior beverage applications manager for Bell. “Bell’s hand-crafted beer flavors can be used in a variety of applications for a unique flavor profile.”