How Malka Beer is finding success in a crowded U.S. craft beer market
First launched in the U.S. in 2013, the Israeli brewer says positive reaction is driving sales and expansion.
With the U.S. craft beer market swelling in recent years, walking down your local grocery aisle can be a dizzying experience in choice. This brand abundance is one reason Israeli-based Malka Beer decided to start slow when introducing their product in the U.S. – a cautious approach that was quickly replaced with an enthusiastic response.
Malka, founded in 2006, currently exports three beers to the U.S. – a blond ale, a pale ale and a stout. The latter is receiving the most praise, with one reviewer on BeerAdvocate describing its taste as "sweet, dark, roasted caramel malt, cacao and some espresso notes."
"We are excited with the reaction we've been getting since our launch in the U.S. [in the] middle of last year," co-founder Assaf Lavi told From The Grapevine. "We started in just one state in order to gauge the U.S. market but early on started getting requests for Malka from additional states. We've found ourselves less than a year from launch represented in close to 20 states with listing in process in 10 more states."
Lavi attributes Malka's early success in the U.S. to both their brewing process and attraction as a novelty in the market.
"We are proud to make our beer with natural spring water and with no filtration and pasteurization process," he says. "It gives our beer a more fresh taste and makes the flavors stand out. We are different from our competition in the sense that we are one of the only Israeli craft beers in the market and the choice of recipe we're using a quite unique compared to what's used by local craft manufacturers."
Malka Beer is currently offers three different varieties of beer in the U.S. (Photo: Malka Beer)
Malka is also experiencing the benefits of a country where the average American annually consumes more than 20 gallons of beer. In Israel, where the craft beer scene is vibrant but heavily taxed, the average annual consumption is only 2.6 gallons.
As for differences, Lavi said that while Israeli beers are well-known throughout the country, the U.S. scene can differ in each state and sometimes even within different regions of a state. "I also think seasonality is affecting the types of beer (stout in colder seasons, wheat and blonde in summertime), whereas in Israel the same types are consumed throughout the year," he added.
To keep pace with a growing demand in the U.S. for imported craft beer (a market that increased by 4.5 percent in 2013), Lavi said Malka will introduce a wheat beer and their new Hindi IPA.
"I believe that after we have gained some mileage in the local market, we will definitely launch them in the U.S., possibly towards summer 2015," he said.
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