US Craft Beer Trends

Lotte Peplow presented a talk recently at the Brewers Lectures about the Brewers Association, they are a trade body with about 4000 Brewery members and 46000 Home brewers. I found the facts surrounding the Craft Beer Movement in America fascinating, currently in Northern Ireland we don’t have an assembly to lobby a legislative change to allow our Craft breweries to sell direct and the impact this is having on growth of the industry is frightening

Lotte started with the definition of what a Craft Brewery is…

  • Small
  • Independent¬†
  • Traditional

An interesting insight provided by Lotte was that in 1978 America had 42 Brewing companies, in comparison to 2018 where the figure is now north of 6000

The American Craft Beer Scene is now regarded by some as becoming crowded and competitive, the primary issue being seen by the bigger small independents is that they are struggling with beer distribution as the channels are being tied up by the big Macro Giants.

The issue local breweries in Northern Ireland are having is somewhat similar as the large Macro brands have tap tied all the bars to prohibit growth of the local breweries.

Two breweries in America open everyday and there is 2000 in planning and its now thought 1 in 5 beers are a craftbeer, but is it too crowded? Well if you look at the number of wineries then the answer is clearly no as there is significantly more wineries which would indicate we still have room fro growth.

US Craft Beer Trends

  • Beer Styles
  • Food
  • Tourism
  • Packaging

Beer Styles, shows the IPA at 28.2% and its popularity is growing at 17% per year. IPA’s range from anything from 4% to 12%. Sessionable Beers are up 9% and good innovation is going on with Sour Beers

Beer and Food, 63% select beer based on what meal they are having and 88% enjoy beer with food

Tourism & Beer, 7% of craft sales (by volume) are at the brewery and Craft Breweries are now seen as a main attraction for travellers

Packaging, America loves cans it seems, cans have rose to 16.7% of total craft. 41.4% of sales of craft are Draft and 58.6% are packaged, now the point I was making earlier about the macros dominating the tap market in Northern Ireland shows the effect as American Craft Breweries have a high rate of draught when our local breweries simply don’t get a look at the draught market.