Capturing New Markets: Developing Low-Cal Products

Boulevard Brewing Company is proving that consumers don’t have to choose between low-caloric intakes and good-tasting beer.

Perfecting a low-calorie beer takes time and work, though. It took nine batches — the most Boulevard of Kansas City has ever done — to get it its newly released Easy Sport just right.

With just 99 calories and 4.5 carbs, at an ABV of 4.1%, the bright ale was in development for over a year. Easy Sport surpassed the previously most tested beer (Space Camper) by five test batches, but it was worth it for Boulevard.

“We started off with two versions that we presented to our sales team: one dry-hopped, the other tangerine,” said Steven Pauwels, Boulevard’s Brewmaster. “The outcome was divided and I always found the tangerine to be the best fit for a life-style beer so we continued working that path.”

Pauwels said the reason for incorporating a low-cal option into the lineup was because Boulevard couldn’t ignore consumer demands. “People enjoy beer and they want to combine it with a healthy lifestyle,” he said.

Easy Sport is catered to runners, cyclists, hikers, and others with active lifestyles.

“I also find myself enjoying an Easy Sport after a workout; it works for me too,” Pauwels said.

Pauwels added that it might seem counterintuitive for a craft brewer to enter a beer in this category, but that doesn’t have to change the fact that Boulevard can still prioritize flavor to make the tastiest low-cal beer possible.

Beer drinkers no longer have to choose between drinking craft beer and watching their calories.

“Consumers that love beer and are health focused are no longer mutually exclusive and we wanted to create the best-tasting, better-for-you beer we could,” said Natalie Gershon, VP of Marketing. “We think this is just the tip of the iceberg and consumers are certainly already looking for this project.”

Gershon said Boulevard is working to get the beer out there through social media and direct contact with consumers.

“The one-to-one interaction that comes with introduction of this beer is so valuable at this stage, she said. “And when we can’t be there, we lean on some of our amazing activity-based accounts that have really embraced Easy Sport to help us spread the word. It’s been an easy beer to rally behind.”

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