While Americans are drinking less beer overall, they are drinking more craft beer, most of it in bars and restaurants, according to Technomic Inc.
In its 2014 On-Premise Craft Beer & Cider study, Technomic said 55 percent of craft beer and cider purchased in the United States is being drunk in bars and restaurants. Seventy-five percent of all beer consumed is bought at retail.
In 2013, craft beer accounted for about 7 percent of the total on- and off-premise beer market of 2.8 billion 2.25-gallon cases, according to Technomic figures reported earlier this year.
While overall on-premise beer consumption contracted by 3 percent in 2013, more severely than the 1.4-percent overall decline in consumption, craft beer volume expanded by 11.8 percent overall, and by 14.5 percent in restaurants and bars.
Cider consumption is booming, growing 150 percent on-premise in 2013, nearly twice its growth rate off-premise.
Technomic also found that common assumptions about craft beer and cider — such as that cider consumption is being driven by women and that mostly white men drink craft beer — aren’t true.
While people who buy craft beer once a week tend to be male and in the Millennial and Generation X demographics — about 21 to 50 years old — they also skew Hispanic.
The study also found that regular drinkers of cider in bars and restaurants are nearly evenly split between men and women, with 25 percent of men and 26 percent of women who drink craft beer or cider ordering cider on nearly every visit to bars, and 18 percent of men and 16 percent of women doing so in casual-dining restaurants.
In a separate report, the Brewers Association, a trade group of craft beer makers, said that although mainstream beer consumption is down and craft beer drinking is on the rise, the shift isn’t just mainstream beer drinkers switching to craft beer.
The association’s chief economist, Bart Watson, found that all beer categories have benefited from the craft beer phenomenon.
“In recent years, looking at a state-by-state level, the presence of a strong craft industry has been great for the beer industry,” Watson wrote in a recent report, noting that states with the strongest craft beer industries have actually seen overall beer sales rise, even while overall beer consumption elsewhere has fallen.
“These state-by-state results strongly suggest that craft is good for overall industry volume, re-energizing beer lovers and bringing new people into the beer category,” he said, adding that market tracking company IRI Group shows that as many consumers started buying beer as stopped from 2012 to 2013.
“You can bet that a large percentage of new entrants to the beer category were brought in by craft,” he said.
Contact Bret Thorn at [email protected].
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