In 2020, the craft brewer volume sales dipped by 9%. This isn’t merely a statistic that evidences the impact of the pandemic. Because of the past year’s implementation of social distancing and other health-related protocols, there was little to no opportunity to grab a beer with a friend. But today, it’s a different story.
As people are getting vaccinated and more business operations are resuming, what does the future hold for the brewery industry? This could be a question you’re asking yourself as someone interested in setting up their own craft beer business. Regardless of your hesitation, learning more about the industry can better equip you with future trends and prospects to prove useful for you later on.
What Are Craft Breweries?
There is no shared fixed definition of a craft brewery. Despite that, the size of operations, production volume, raw materials utilized, means of production, and equipment are among the criteria used by different associations from different countries. In the U.S., however, it’s defined as a small and independent business. The Brewers Association defines a craft brewery as producing 6 million barrels or less of beer annually and 25% owned or controlled by a member or entity that is not a craft brewer.
The Impact of Craft Brewing on the Economy
Despite the pandemic, the brewing industry thrived as a strong economic source, shares Bart Watson, Chief Economist for the Brewers Association. In 2020, the brewing industry could still impact the economy with a contribution of $62.1 billion to the U.S. economy. Additionally, the industry has provided approximately 400,000 jobs to their communities in the same year. The top 5 states with the biggest contributions last year were California, Pennsylvania, Texas, New York, and Florida.
Beers in the New Normal
The data gathered from the previous year implies a promising future for the brewery industry. Similarly, the beer industry as a whole is what you’d consider a normal good, wherein the demand for the product increases as the incomes of the people of the area increase. Nevertheless, this fact does not seem to completely explain the industry’s capability to thrive during hard times such as the pandemic. Aside from providing a wide range of beer types that can cater to different preferences, the beer industry is what one can call recession-resistant. Let’s take the pandemic as an example. Just because it took a toll on the economy, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the demand for beer has changed, does it? People opt for cheaper brands as an alternative to more expensive brews.
Innovation in Brewery
Ingredients, alcohol content, the aging process, isotonic claims, and packaging are the main features of craft beer that have been innovated to appeal to a wide range of customers. Similarly, in their study, Lerro, Marotta, and Nazzaro discovered that participants preferred craft beer over commercial beer. They reported that the former tasted more genuine and tasty. Additionally, taste, fermentation process, and color were ranked to be most important in purchasing beer.
Depending on where you’re located, it’s important to test out different formulas before settling on one. Find out what appeals to the locals, as they will be your client base. You want to create loyal customers out of them since they’re the market closest to you. Study the preferences in your area, and go through a trial-and-error stage. Once you nail the recipe down, you’re set.
The most basic and common ingredients for beer-making are grain, yeast, water, and hops. Hops bring out a strong flavor in beers, thus its reputation as an accelerating factor to the craft beer market. As the flavoring component, don’t be afraid to experiment! You can start with Citra hops and make your way from there.
Get a Strategic Location
It matters where you set up shop. Aside from logistics and visibility concerns, they’re relevant to your business model. Historically, the beers brewed within a limited geographical area were consumed within the same area. But during the 19th and early 20th centuries, railroads were built and expanded, making it possible for breweries to transport their product to further regions. Even if brewers could form a customer base, they soon realized that branding and marketing were two significant factors in expanding their operations.
Regardless, location plays a critical role in this regard. Aside from the local and regular customers it attracts, a local brewery’s location can be a great strategy for on-place branding. It adds charm and, if successfully relayed as culturally distinct to visitors and tourists, it’s a hit. This is an advantage microbreweries have over industrial breweries.
The Main Takeaway
If you’re waiting to actualize your craft beer business, the right time is always now. However, having a game plan is a good place to start, so observe the trends and do your research. Sit on it and let it brew.