Craft Brewers: This Is What Your Customers Want

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In Create your own microbrewery, distillery or cider house, the staff of LikendisLike Media Inc. and the writer Corie Brown with Zester Daily Contributors explain how you can get started in the craft alcoholic beverage industry, whether you want to start your own microbrewery, distillery or cider house. In this edited excerpt, the authors offer expert advice on the type of customers who purchase artisanal alcoholic beverages.

If the artisanal alcoholic beverage sector is to continue its rapid growth, it will be the mass audience that will drive sales. And at this point, the fastest growing audience in the business is the mass of Millennials (people born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s). Highly individualized and independent, young American adults have both the group consciousness of changing the world for the better and the confidence that they know how to do it.

The current increase in demand for boats corresponds directly to the increase in the number of millennials reaching the legal drinking age. Members of this generation’s maximum birth year turned 25 in 2020. Craft drinks reflect their particular preference for local, eco-friendly products, and although these drinks may cost a little more, they are affordable luxuries that reflect the idea of ​​sophistication and sophistication of this generation. education. Enough of this generation is happy to pay a little more to drink something they think is special to drive the market as a whole. If this preference becomes a habit, crafts will become the main event of alcoholic beverages.

At the current inflection point, artisanal consumers are still identifiable. They are thirsty for novelty and will pay a premium to be surprised and delighted with what is in their glass. When it comes to beer, the failure of traditional brands to inspire is fairly universal. With spirits, it is less about being offended by what has been proposed by the big producers and more about a desire to discover something new. Hard cider customers discover a whole new category, which women drinkers are particularly satisfied with, is lower in calories than beer or wine and gluten-free.

Craft consumers know when they find what they are looking for and have favorites, but that doesn’t stop them from continuing to explore new craft offerings. While some seek scarcity and elusiveness, craft consumers are fed up with the pub ramp to make up for the snobbery of drinking “better” beer.

Big Beer distributors see things differently. There are good reasons to believe that the current artisanal public is an aberration, explains Lester Jones, chief economist of the National Beer Wholesalers Association. Bud’s drinker is not dead; he’s just dormant. The craft boom follows the growing fortunes of the 1% of all American consumers as much as millennials. “Right now, a high-end gold rush is chasing them.” The question is whether the four million people aged 21 to 34 will continue to pay a premium for alcoholic beverages as they age. “Not everyone is going to drink Dom Pérignon,” said Jones. “Ultimately, most consumers opt out of cheap cavas.”

Greg Koch, co-founder of Stone Brewing Company in San Diego, is a consumer who is more concerned about craft producers who, without knowing it, negotiate when they buy “craft” products, such as the Anheuser Shock Top- Busch. “Most Americans are not paying attention. The downside to deceiving customers is very small and the benefit is high, ”says Koch. Craft producers can claim moral merit, but will consumers continue to care? When the craft movement started in the late 1980s, the interest in drinking better beer drove the craft beer market, which fell from zero to 5% of the U.S. beer market. Subsequent generations joined the movement, but stabilized during the decade from the late 1990s to the late 2000s. When the first of Boomer’s offspring reached legal drinking age, the market has restarted. The Brewers Association predicts that craft beer will account for 20% of the U.S. beer market by 2020.

According to statistics from the Brewers Association, in 2001, the median craft beer drinker was a 39-year-old white man, highly educated, with a relatively high income living in an area served by several local craft breweries. Today, 75% of adults of legal drinking age live within 16 km of a brewery. The millennial drinker brings a wider range of Americans to the craft festival, with women now making up 15% of the craft beer market.

According to Demeter Group Investment Bank, artisanal drinkers are non-linear experimenters and explorers who move from one beer or one spirits or hard cider to another without obvious and discernible progress. Their omnivorous trend follows styles rather than brands. They are pushing the global market towards a style identity above all – they massively favor hopped IPA beers – and far from the brand identity that has long dominated beer consumption. The extremists among them are leading the development of new breweries with their willingness to try every new beer they find.

The artisanal drinker wants to feel a connection to what’s in his glass, says Christian McMahan, director of Smartfish, a Connecticut marketing firm specializing in artisanal drinks. Speaking to Brewbound in December, he told new brewers to tell their personal stories to consumers. “Authenticity counts” for millennial drinkers, says McMahan. They will drop a product that will make them feel manipulated by false media hype.

The artisanal drinker knows more about what he drinks than non-artisanal drinkers, according to surveys by the market research firm IBISWorld. They are health conscious consumers who choose better quality drinks. And they tend to drink most of their drinks at home.

The overall improvement in the economy, which is expected to continue over the next five years, will support the craft sectors, according to IBISWorld. “The improvement in disposable income will allow more consumers to include high-end products such as craft beer in their budget. Changing consumer preferences, driven in part by the local buying movement and a political push against big business that resulted from the financial crisis, have increased demand for smaller breweries. Beer consumption per capita is higher among 21 to 35 year olds than in other age groups. The proportion of the total population in this age group and their increasing disposable income will have a positive effect on the demand for beer over the next five years. This age group is expected to account for more than 32% of craft beer sales in 2020, according to analysts at IBISWorld.

Craft buyers know what they like, says David Hayslette, marketing strategist at MeadWestVaco packaging suppliers, whose research shows that 73% of craft consumers say they usually know what beer they’re looking for when they enter a store. Still, they are extremely open to discovery, he says, noting that 64% say they buy something new after reading the craft packaging. On average, craft buyers spend four and a half minutes reading beer labels. This compares to 30 seconds spent by the average customer Anheuser-Busch or MillerCoors.

Thomas Touring, director of restaurant operations for the House of Blues music chain, says he changed his restaurants to a craft beer menu because his customers demanded local beers. Once he changed his mind, sales of beer increased, as did sales of food.

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