As the number of small and independent American craft breweries hurtles towards 7,000, Bob Pease — chief executive / president of the Brewers Association, the not-for-profit trade body representing small and independent American craft brewers — looks at the enduring success of the IPA sector, and other news
America is a nation of hop lovers, as demonstrated by the success of the IPA style and its many iterations over the last few years.
IPAs dominate the craft beer world and continue to innovate and diversify. We now see black, white and red IPAs, imperial IPAs, West Coast IPAs, Belgian-style IPAs, brett or wild IPAs, rye IPAs, herb / spiced IPAs and hazy or juicy IPAs, and this trend looks set to continue.
They range in ABV from 4% or less to 12% or more. IPAs remain the primary driver of growth in American craft beer and account for 36.8% of dollar sales and 77% of craft growth.
Juicy or hazy IPAs were judged for the first time at this year’s recent Great American Beer Festival, and attracted the most category entrants of all with 391 (surpassing American-style IPA, which had held the top position for over a decade). In fact, the total number of entries for the three juicy or hazy styles (juicy or hazy pale ale, IPA and Double IPA) was 706! This new style is helping to widen appeal of American craft beer and help bring new palates into beer.
Sessionable American craft beer styles are also popular and account for 26% of the growth in craft sales. Many American brewers are now crafting clean, refreshing and crisp helles, Pilsners, Kölsch, altbiers, Oktoberfest, dunkel and many more.
These styles are popular because they appeal to new-to-craft drinkers who are coming into the craft beer category for the first time, as well as those older drinkers who entered the craft beer world at its inception, some 30 to 40 years ago. These beer lovers are now ageing and looking for lower-ABV styles that are more sessionable. We expect to see more experimentation and creativity within this sector in the future.
In other news, the Brewers Association will be exhibiting at Brau Beviale, from November 13 to 15, in Nuremberg, Germany. Anyone attending is welcome to visit our booth (Hall 1/ 1-115) to sample a wide range of world-class quality, highly innovative, diverse American craft beers from 25 of our member breweries, who between them will be providing more than 70 different beers, ranging in style from Pilsners and pale ales to stouts and sours. Masterclass tastings about American craft beer will take place in the Craft Drinks Area, led by one of our experts.
Brau Beviale will also feature the awards ceremony and public tasting for the 2018 European Beer Star Awards. Last year the competition attracted 2,151 beers, and 16 Brewers Association Export Development Programme members won 30 awards in 21 different categories. Results for this year will be announced mid-November.
Bruce Dickinson is keynote speaker
I’m pleased to confirm that the lead singer of Iron Maiden, Bruce Dickinson, will deliver the keynote speech at next year’s Craft Brewers Conference (CBC) in Denver, Colorado, from April 8-11. In addition to being a lead singer, Dickinson is also a commercial pilot, brewmaster, entrepreneur and creative business thinker.
Other speakers of note will include: Dr J Nikol Jackson-Beckham, diversity ambassador of the Brewers Association; Cody Keenan, former director of speechwriting for President Barack Obama; Jessic Lukas, vice-president, consumer insights; and Brandy Rand, president IWSR drinks market analysis.
CBC is the number one environment in North America for concentrated, affordable brewing education and idea sharing, to improve brewery quality and performance. The conference brings together 13,000 brewing industry professionals for more than 70 different educational seminars led by the top minds in the beer world, and access to BrewExpo America, the largest brewing trade show in the US, featuring more than 700 vendors.
And finally, I’m also pleased to report that the new Brewers Association Independent Craft Brewers Seal, a certification mark that identifies truly independent American craft brewers, has been adopted by nearly 4,000 breweries — that’s over 80% of all independent craft volume produced in the US today! Independent craft beer is purchased by more people, more frequently and more is spent per purchase versus Big Beer acquired brands.
The seal identifies independent craft and steers consumer behaviour. Our new ‘That’s Independence You’re Tasting’ campaign highlights independence and choice, and puts the spotlight on independent brewers’ innovation, ingenuity and integrity as small, independent businesses rooted in the local community.
Our goal is to raise beer drinker awareness behind the beers they’re supporting. Are they independent or owned by a global multinational? We ask beer drinkers to actively seek the seal. Independence does matters to an increasing number of beer drinkers, and the seal gives them the choice to support a local independent brewery.
About the Brewers Association
The Brewers Association (BA) is the not-for-profit trade association dedicated to small and independent American brewers, their beers and the community of brewing enthusiasts.
The BA represents 4,000-plus US breweries. The BA’s independent craft brewer seal is a widely adopted symbol that differentiates beers by small and independent craft brewers.
The BA organises events including the World Beer Cup, Great American Beer Festival, Craft Brewers Conference and BrewExpo America, SAVOR: An American Craft Beer and Food Experience, Homebrew Con, National Homebrew Competition and American Craft Beer Week.
The BA publishes The New Brewer magazine, and Brewers Publications is the largest publisher of brewing literature in the US.
Beer lovers are invited to learn more about the dynamic world of craft beer at CraftBeer.com and about homebrewing via the BA’s American Homebrewers Association and the free Brew Guru mobile app.