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Craft Beers in the US & UK: How Mainstream Brewers can Benefit From the Trend Towards Craft Beers

Amid data showing that the craft beer sub-sector has posted strong growth in an otherwise dismal US beer category, brewer MillerCoors has pooled all its craft-style domestic and international brands into a new craft-focused division called Tenth and Blake. The UK real ale sub-sector is also showing positive growth in a poor overall environment.

The success of craft beer has arisen as it dovetails with various important consumer trends: it fits with the general trend towards trading up; it capitalizes on desires to purchase authentic products; it goes with the trend to drink in moderation; and it provides a superior drinking experience.

Authenticity has always been important for craft beers, even when they were solely targeted at a relatively knowledgeable and quality-conscious niche audience. Part of the reason why these brands are now able to enter the mainstream is that this credibility persists when a niche beer is targeted at a wider audience.

The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) says the proportion of UK women who have tasted real ale doubled from 16% in 2008 to 32% in 2010, and that the proportion of UK 25–34 year-olds who have tasted real ale rose over the same period from 28% to 50%. While detailed data are not available, industry sources claim that craft ale is also growing in popularity among younger consumers in the US.

The difference between MillerCoors’ strategy and Anheuser-Busch’s is interesting, with the former company creating a new craft distributor brand to underpin its craft beer brands. Meanwhile, Anheuser-Busch is not only using its corporate identity, but is trying to benefit from using its most famous beer brand, Budweiser, on a craft-style beer.

Now that craft beers are increasingly consumed by ordinary drinkers engaging in the kind of everyday activities (fishing, hiking, picnicking) for which cans are far more convenient than bottles, a change to more convenient formats is likely to come.

Find this interesting. For more, please read our Craft Beers in the US & UK Case Study: How Mainstream Brewers can Benefit From the Trend Towards Craft Beers or check out our ‘Reports on Beer Industry’

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