The beer industry is undergoing a shift in preference as consumers gravitate towards lower-calorie options or hard seltzer alternatives. According to the U.S. Brewers Association, U.S. beer volume sales were down 1% in 2018 but craft names actually grew 4%. Retail dollar sales of craft beer rose 7% and accounted for nearly 25% of the entire U.S. beer market.
The global craft beer industry by some estimates is projected to grow at a 15.8% compounded annual growth rate of 15.8% through 2025.
Benzinga reached out to Tastewise, an AI-powered food intelligence startup, to better understand where the growth is coming from.
Beer's primary ingredients include barley malt, water, hops and yeast, which makes it suitable for vegans. Craft beer mentions on social media networks and other channels is trending among vegans by more than 225% year-over-year, according to Tastewise.
U.K.-based brewery and pub chain BrewDog claims 95% of its craft beer is vegan-friendly and pairs great with plant-based food options, like vegan wings. After all, the number of vegans in the U.K. rose 62% in 2019 and the craft beer company needs to stay relevant in the large beer-drinking market.
Beer drinkers like to support their local craft beer makers. According to Fortune, craft companies are focusing on going "hyper-local" to source ingredients in its beer. Even Walmart Inc (NYSE: WMT) committed shelf-space to craft beer makers in its stores.
According to Tastewise, more than 2,000 restaurants across the U.S. offer a selection of craft beer. It shouldn't come as a surprise that breweries have the highest penetration of craft selection at 23%.
Restaurants understand craft beer drinkers like to feel adventurous by trying special batches. This also creates a unique sense of loyalty that will drive repeat business, according to Restaurant Engine.
Iron Pig was singled out by Tastewise as having the highest number of menu mentions.
Craft Beer + Kombucha
Kombucha, a fermented tea that traces roots to ancient China, is a trending pair among craft beer makers. Many breweries are now offering both beverages as part of their offerings and consumer conversations mentioning the combo are up nearly 70% from a year ago.
Consumers can opt to brew their own high alcohol hard kombucha beverages or enjoy a beverage at a local brewery.
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