Craft beer, a category that has exploded in popularity in the past 2 decades, is continuing to grab market share. This expanded market may be coming at the expense of imported beers. Small breweries are taking advantage of consumer interest in their products and they’re appealing to broader demographic groups by borrowing marketing techniques that have become standard practice by another segment in the adult beverage industry, wineries.
Research by Mintel shows that about 13% of the beer drinking public is devoted to flavors produced by craft or microbreweries. The rest of the beer market is divided into domestics (43%) and imported (22%). But the good news is the positive consumer opinion about craft beer. The following numbers from Mintel are encouraging for craft breweries:
- Consumers who enjoy trying new craft beer: 59%
- Consumers would try more craft beers if they knew more about them: 51%
Garima Goel Lal, senior analyst at Mintel, points out that breweries have an opportunity to form a relationship with younger drinkers that could be profitable over time. “Craft beer is most popular with the 25–34-year-old crowd, so manufacturers would be wise to target this demographic and educate them more about artisan beers.” Breweries may also benefit from expanding their appeal to women and Hispanics. To do so, some breweries are suggesting menus that combine craft beer flavors with specific foods as innovative meal solutions.
Packaging may also play a role in increasing craft beer sales. The Mintel study found consumers prefer the following beer packaging:
- Bottles 63%
- Can 20%
- Draft 8%
- Keg 2%
Look for breweries large and small to increase and modify their ad campaigns as competition heats up in the beer market.[Sources: Culverwell, Wendy. Craft brewers should target new markets. BizJournals.com. 29 Dec. 2010. Web. 11 Jan. 2011; Craft beers bubble over in popularity. Mintel.com. 28 Dec. 2010. Web. 11 Jan. 2011]