Getting a light buzz is no longer enough for young drinkers who want to enjoy a brew that doesn’t give them a hangover, and may even impact them positively. Enter mushroom beer.
For many people, the most obvious reason to enjoy a beer is that it makes them feel good. After all, with its high-calorie count and substantial alcohol content, it’s not exactly a healthy drink. And a taste for beer’s flavor is typically acquired.
But a growing trend in brewing is looking to change all that, and offer a drink that packs the same flavor punch as a more traditional option, but goes a step further when it comes to its other benefits.
In an industry that has seen major change in recent years, with brands offering increasingly bizarre-sounding concoctions — for example, Smartmouth Brewings’ Lucky Charms beer — it was becoming difficult to see which direction brewers would, or even could, go in next.
One innovative option is emerging as a clear trend: mushroom beer.
Not only does this concoction offer the umami flavor so beloved by many drinkers, according to fans, but it also offers a host of other benefits.
While several mushroom-brewed beers are currently available in the States, a U.K. brand is now emerging that intends to take the potential health benefits of the brew a step further.
Adaptogenic mushroom beer
Fungtn offers a vegan, alcohol-free beverage, which it claims is the first alcohol-free line of beers brewed with adaptogenic mushrooms.
These are mushrooms that are thought to reduce the effect that stress has on the body, by mediating the body’s key stress response systems.
Mushrooms that may be adaptogenic include cordyceps, lion’s mane, and reishi.
According to Fungtn’s website, its beer ‘does not taste like mushrooms’, and it won’t give you a hangover.
But more than that, it says that by “harness[ing] the power of functional mushrooms’ means the beverage ‘contributes positively to mind and body.”
Fungtn, which is currently crowdfunding to expand its market reach to countries outside the U.K. and create more drinks within the range, says its drinks appeal to four markets: Craft Beer, No and Low alcohol, fungi, and Health and wellness.
Its crowdfunder states: “The no and low alcohol category is here to stay as an all-year-round, more mindful consumer proposition.
“Health and wellness and immunity support are key on consumers’ minds and including low alcohol, free from and reduced sugar products in everyday diets is being supported by research making it irrefutable that a healthier lifestyle is better for all.
“Stress, anxiety, Covid and increased awareness around mental health are all helping people strive to make healthier choices.”
Some of those choices include the growing number of botanicals and aperitifs hitting the market, like Bella Hadid’s Kin Euphorics and Katy Perry’s De Soi. Both brands include a mix of adaptogens and vitamins aimed at boosting mood without the negative effects of alcohol.
Is healthy beer the future?
Numerous reports have cited recent predictions by drinks giant Diageo, which says the next big flavors within the beer world are likely to be savoury and umami, and that the ‘low and no’ alcohol sector, in particular, is currently the beer market’s fastest-growing segment.
And interest in ‘healthy’ options people can enjoy at the pub or the bar, can be seen on the ground, according to Matt Coles, strategic director at global drinks consultancy company Barfly.
Speaking to Inews, he said: “I think that in a few years drinks with extra health benefits are going to be what we’re all talking about.
“It’s the next step after no- and low-alcohol. You already see it now with people coming into the pub after doing sports.
“They don’t always want a pint — they want something healthier that is still going to be enjoyable and make them feel good.”
Related on Ethos: