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Market research : the evolution of the craft beer industry

The beer market in booming; perhaps not in quantity but at least in variety. Indeed, market research shows upward trends in all European countries. In today’s article, we will give you an overview of this through some figures from British market research and another one on the Italian market.

The British craft beer market

Beer and the British: it’s a real love story. Going to the pub after work is an authentic British tradition and the cement of business relationships. Market trends show that it’s not just about quantity. It’s also about diversity. This is reflected in the number of microbreweries that are becoming increasingly popular in the UK. Despite their local roots, their international ambitions are also well established. Here are some figures from market research presented at the EMAC 2018 conference:

  • The number of microbreweries has more than doubled in the UK between 2010 and 2015
  • The United Kingdom is country with the most significant number of microbreweries: more than 1700
  • 1 in 6 UK breweries plans to double their production, sales or number of employees by 2018
  • Only 15% of these microbreweries export their production but more than 50% of them aim to be present in international markets.

The Italian craft beer market

The same market trend can be observed in other European countries. In Italy, for example, there were 75 craft breweries in 2007 and 718 in 2016, representing an almost tenfold increase in their number. The graph below shows this impressive development.

Evolution of the craft beer in Italy

Evolution of the number of microbreweries and bars brewing their beer in Italy (2007-2016)

The French market for craft beer

As far as the production of craft beers is concerned, the wine country is not to be outdone. Indeed, the French territory had 200 craft breweries in 2007 and counted the creation of a hundred breweries and microbreweries per year since 2013. There are 900 in 2016.

The success story of beer in France +11% of beer brewed between 2013 and 2016 and +9% of consumption

The Belgian craft beer market

In Belgium, the number of breweries increased from 115 in 2003 to 278 in 2018. Their number has, therefore, more than doubled in 15 years, which for many is synonymous with the creation of a bubble that is likely to burst soon. Belgium is the second-largest exporter of beer in the European Union with 1.6 billion litres exported in 2018.

Top beer exporters in the EU in 2018: The Netherlands (1.9 bn litres) followed by Belgium and Germany (1.6 bn litres)

The German craft beer market

Germany records the creation of more than 200 breweries between 2010 and 2018, increasing from 1333 breweries to 1539. It is also, and above all, the country that produces the most litres of beer in the European Union (21% of production or 8.3 billion litres of beer brewed).

A few words in conclusion

The market is still dominated in terms of volume by the major brands. But consumers are showing a lot of interest in new tastes and authenticity, which is reflected in the creation of local micro-brands.
Large organisations such as ABInbev, for example, detected this trend very early on and have been investing in local brands for a long time to build up as vibrant a portfolio of brands as possible.
“The Brussels Beer project” is a very successful example of a Microbrewery whose distinguishing feature is that its launch was financed by crowdfunding and which today has a complete range of very diversified products also on the shelves of national distributors.



Image : shutterstock

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Pierre-Nicolas est Docteur en Marketing et dirige l'agence d'études de marché IntoTheMinds. Ses domaines de prédilection sont le BigData l'e-commerce, le commerce de proximité, l'HoReCa et la logistique. Il est également chercheur en marketing à l'Université Libre de Bruxelles et sert de coach et formateur à plusieurs organisations et institutions publiques. Il peut être contacté par email, Linkedin ou par téléphone (+32 486 42 79 42)

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