A new report has unveiled a raft of data about the craft brewing sector and how it is adapting to a new type of market and beer drinker.

It includes research showing the growth of no- and low-alcohol beers, being brewed in response to an increasing number of people, particularly those aged 18 to 24, who are reducing alcohol intake or avoiding it altogether.

Other headline findings from the SIBA British Craft Beer Report 2020 are a growing number of consumers — 50% in 2020, up from 43% in 2019 — the growth of brewery taprooms (30% of independent breweries now have a taproom serving beer on site), and the fact that women are now drinking beer more regularly (almost doubling to 11% since 2019).

Another highlight is research showing that a growing number of consumers recognise that genuine craft beer must be produced by a small independent brewery. In contrast, only 3% of consumers believe craft beer can be made by a multi-national global brewer. This is something small brewers need to communicate better to consumers, says SIBA.

SIBA brewer

Report editor, Caroline Nodder, said: “The findings in this year’s report show a drastically changing marketplace, with consumers opting for no- or low-alcohol options — particularly young people — and brewers who are quickly adapting to this challenge and bringing out some really interesting, flavoursome, low-ABV beers.

“It shows the dexterity of small independent breweries, and I think we are going to see even more growth in this area over the next 12 months as people become more health conscious.

“Community is also increasingly important for consumers, and this has really helped with the growth in local brewery taprooms. Beer drinkers can try fresh beers direct from the source, and often try something not available elsewhere. For brewers, it has created a vital revenue stream in a market that is extremely tough and competitive. It’s one of the big success stories of the last few years, and almost a third of independent breweries now have a taproom on site — an incredible number across the UK.”

SIBA’s British Craft Beer Report is now in its second year, a year in which SIBA itself is celebrating its 40th anniversary. It is the most comprehensive annual report covering the beer industry, says SIBA, combining insight and analysis from the wider beer market with the results of the organisation’s annual members’ survey, and exclusive consumer research commissioned by SIBA through YouGov. 

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