Craft Beer Needs to Get Out More
PORTLAND, Ore. (TheStreet) — As the small brewers who make up the “craft” community already know, their fan base is expanding. It’s drawing more of the exact same type of person, but it’s expanding.
The brewers the Brewers Association craft beer group considers “craft” saw sales grow 15% in volume and 17% in dollars last year even as the entire beer industry grew by less than 1.5% after years of post-recession losses. Craft beer’s retail dollar value surpassed $10 billion for the first time in 2012, while the more than 2,480 craft breweries in the U.S. make up the overwhelming majority of the nation’s 2,538 breweries.
That growth and much of the craft beer industry in general is built on a foundation of white, male Millennials and Gen Xers, according to data released in April by Nielsen . Men make up 72% of the beer market, according to Nielsen, with their drinks of choice increasingly turning to craft beers and cider. While beer-drinking women — who make up just 28% of all beer drinkers — are just about on par with men in their love of cider, they’re about half as likely to pick a craft beer.
Meanwhile, whites are 65.6% of all beer drinkers and are two to five times as likely to pick up a craft beer as folks from any other race or ethnicity. We’ve already mentioned the economic divide between craft beer drinkers and the rest of the beer-drinking U.S., but the Nielsen numbers show craft beer as a cultural niche far more segregated from the average alcohol-consuming market than its surging numbers indicate.