Craft beer makes ‘mainstream’ move

Report finds quarter of UK adults have tried category in last six months

• A third of beer drinkers say craft is worth paying more for, the report says.
• A third of beer drinkers say craft is worth paying more for, the report says.

CRAFT beer may be moving into the ‘mainstream’, according to research firm Mintel, whose latest report found that a quarter of British adults had consumed a craft beer in the past six months.

According to the study, 25% of British adults – equating to around 13 million people – said they had drunk a product from the category in the second half of 2013.
The report also claimed craft beer brands have “forged associations with quality”, with 35% of beer drinkers saying they are worth paying more for.
Despite the growth in craft beer, however, Mintel’s research also found that the category’s current lack of definition could be stifling growth.
While 50% of beer drinkers said they expect a craft beer product to taste better, 40% admitted to being unsure what the term means – with 45% of those saying the category would be more appealing if they knew more about craft beer.
Mintel’s report also concluded that current perceptions of craft beer may be more in relation to production methods and quality than in size, with 40% of beer drinkers interested in trying a craft-style beer from a large brewer.
Despite the “encouraging” growth of craft beer, Mintel found consumption in the beer category as a whole continuing to decline.
Chris Wisson, senior drinks analyst at the consumer research firm, said that “far from being a niche area reserved for small brewers” craft beer also provides an opportunity for larger brewers.
“While it was thought that the craft movement was going to be bad news for leading brewers, the fact that 40% of beer drinkers would be interested in trying one from a large brewer proves that craft beer does not necessarily need to be limited to smaller operators,” said Wisson.
“Rather than focusing on size, craft should be more of an ethos which stands for high quality and artisan skill, giving the consumer a different drinking experience.
“The growth of craft beer taps into an overall trend of many beer drinkers becoming more demanding when it comes to the quality of their beer.
“As prices of many drinks continue to go up, many drinkers are looking for discernibly higher quality to justify the cost.”