I have been doing a lot of research on the current trends in the craft beer industry and what trends could look like in 2018. It is critical to understand where the trends will go because they are based off consumer preferences. Listed below are some trends I believe will have an impact on the craft beer industry in 2018.
Experimenting with new beers has been a trend that I believe will continue in 2018 and for many years to come. It is what has fueled the rise of craft beer. Customers are able to try a lot of different varieties of beer at one location.
NE Style IPA’s have started to become the new crave already in 2017. For those who have not yet tried this style of IPA they are hazy, yeasty beers with a mouthful of fruity flavors. They are starting to pop up all over the eastern coast and I believe will become the biggest trend in 2018.
Canning is starting to become more prominent in small, local breweries that can not necessarily afford a canning line. There are now a couple of alternatives which have helped breweries bring cans to their customers. One way they have been able to do this is through Crowlers. Oscar Blues invented the Crowler which is essentially a big can instead of using a Growler made out of glass. Breweries can now purchase a Crowler Machine for around $5,000 and fill up their 12, 16, or 32-ounce cans right there at the brewery. Another way is through mobile canning companies. There are multiple canning companies that will now come to your brewery and can your beers.
What better way to differentiate your brand than through artwork. As more and more breweries emerge, it is important to create a brand that will stand out and relate to customers. Artwork has been seen on many beer cans and bottles featuring different beers. I believe this will continue to be a trend and local artists will help with design for local beer products that emerge.
I have seen the trend in my own town of Asheville, NC where every brewery wants to be as close to downtown as possible in order get the foot traffic from locals and tourists alike. This has been a good approach but now breweries have almost created saturation inside their own market by doing so. I can see this happening throughout the United States. It makes sense that cities and downtown areas will be the best location for customers to visit your brewery. As this continues though, I can see breweries stepping outside of the city limits and finding small towns and other places to build a brewery. Breweries will also look to be different by their location or even the structures used. Some breweries have started to utilize train cars, barns and stables, and even other structures such as shipping containers. This trend will only continue as more and more breweries open in the U.S.
The article, “3 Craft Beer Industry Trends Breweries Need to Know”, lists a couple of craft beer trends that could differentiate beer brands. One trend that could catch on are brewery memberships. Perks such as access to early bottle releases, exclusive events and festivals for members only, and guaranteed tickets to brewery events can increase loyalty for the brand and create excitement for customers. It will also add additional revenue streams to the brewery. Another example for differentiating a brewery is through giving back either locally or for certain causes. The article states that seventy-five percent of Millennial's say, “it’s important to them that brands they support give back to society instead of just making a profit.” I have seen this trend with many of the local breweries here in Asheville, NC whether it is giving back to a local charity or informing customers of a cause they are trying to support.
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