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What the craft beer sector could look like within 10 years

The size of the global craft beer sector is projected to surpass US$282.6 billion by 2032, according to a new report.

The sector, which currently stands at US$103.2 billion is poised to reach a registered compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.6% from 2023 to 2032, observed analysts in a report from Market.U.S.

Drinks analysts outlined in the research that in 2022, the ale beer segment “dominated” the craft beer sector, largely down to “its diverse flavour profiles, rich brewing traditions, and ability to cater to a wide range of consumer tastes and preferences”.

According to the data, by distribution, the off-trade currently dominates the craft beer sector with a market share of more than 60%.

Analysts described how “the continued establishment of small, independent craft breweries has contributed to market growth. These breweries offer various beer styles, fostering innovation and competition within the industry”. Added to this “craft beer tourism has become a significant driver, with enthusiasts visiting breweries for tours, tastings, and events” a trend which “supports local economies and drives sales for craft breweries”.

The report outlined how “the global craft beer market has seen a surge in microbreweries, driven by a discerning consumer base seeking unique, locally brewed flavours. These small-scale breweries are known for their quality, experimentation, and personalised offerings, challenging established brands. They cater to diverse tastes and artisanal craftsmanship, offering limited-edition seasonal brews and adventurous flavour profiles. Health-conscious trends have also impacted the craft beer market, with consumers preferring lower alcohol content and distinctive ingredients like fruits and spices”.

In terms of regional analysis, the report identified how North America dominates the global craft beer market, accounting for 38% of global revenue. This is due to “its rich culture, particularly that in both America and Canada” playing a part in this dominance and noted that “pioneering breweries like Sierra Nevada and Anchor Steam helped lay down the roots of craft beer worldwide”. Additionally, the craft beer sector’s “size and diversity, ranging from small local establishments to large, established players, cater to various consumer preferences” plus “the ‘drink local’ ethos has also driven consumer support for local breweries, ensuring a diverse range of craft beer options”.

Market restraints that hold back the craft beer industry were also identified and highlighted in the report and it was noted that “various global governments” and issues linked to “labelling, alcohol content limits, distribution restrictions, and taxation policies” were all challenges that ultimately “regulate” the craft beer sector. Analysts pointed out that “these regulations can be costly and time-consuming for craft breweries, hindering market entry and growth”. As such, “the competitive market, with small breweries vying for market share and larger beverage companies consolidating, presents challenges for new and smaller breweries to maintain profitability”. It was observed: “To succeed, differentiation, branding, and distribution are essential, necessitating innovative strategies to stand out in a crowded market”.

The reports outlined moves that could also assist in the global craft beer sector expanding, offering growth opportunities for breweries to innovate and attract a wider customer base. These included how “emerging markets offer untapped potential for craft beer brands, with strategic partnerships, exports, and localised marketing establishing a strong foothold”. Also, “to attract environmentally and health-conscious consumers, breweries can invest in eco-friendly production methods, reduce waste, and offer low-alcohol or non-alcoholic craft beer options” the analysts suggested and added that “this growing market segment can be tapped by promoting sustainability practices and health-conscious brewing”.

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