From stouts to sours, the popularity of craft beer has skyrocketed across the U.S. as a growing number of people try their hand at brewing. According to CraftBeer.com, American craft breweries are defined as brewers who produce 6 million barrels or less annually with less than 25% of the brewery owned or controlled by a beverage alcohol industry member. As of 2020, the North American Craft Beer Market is worth $45.03 billion and is predicted to reach $121.69 billion by the end of 2025, as stated by Market Data Forecast

Industry Trends 

Subscription Services 

With over 8,000 craft breweries across North America, many craft beer companies have adopted a direct-to-consumer sales model to stay competitive in the industry and reach customers wherever they may be. With this, craft beer subscription services have drastically increased, allowing beer enthusiasts to try beverages from all over the country for a monthly or annual fee. From small to large craft breweries, these services offer a wide variety of beers for every taste and price range. 

Better For You Beers

The demand for low-calorie, healthier alcoholic beverages continues to rise as consumers become more mindful of the products they consume. From light beers to hard seltzers, craft breweries are adapting to new consumer preferences with a myriad of new products targeted at health-conscious consumers. 

In addition to low-calorie craft beer options, many breweries are releasing lines of alcoholic seltzers for those seeking a lighter beverage option. These beverage lines have a variety of tropical flavors and blends, letting consumers choose from traditional hard seltzers, wine seltzers, cider seltzers, and more. Amidst the pandemic, this category of alcoholic beverages has shown resilience, exceeding 2019 sales every week from March to June, as reported by Nielsen.

For those who love the taste of beer but not the hangover, non-alcoholic brews may be the best option. Many craft breweries are hopping on the trend of non-alcoholic beers, as consumers look for healthier alternatives. Global Market Insights predicts the global non-alcoholic beer market to reach $25 billion by the year 2024, witnessing over 7.4% CAGR in the next 4 years. With a variety of styles and premium ingredients, non-alcoholic craft beers provide consumers with the same refreshing taste they love, without the side effects. 

Hurdles of Craft Brewers

Competition

As the craft beer market becomes more saturated, breweries must find ways to differentiate themselves to stay competitive. Whether it’s using unique ingredients, offering new seasonal beverages, creating a unique taproom experience, or even drawing customer’s in with creative branding, breweries must earn their relevance to survive the crowded market. 

The Implications of COVID-19

The pandemic has posed many issues for the craft beer industry. From the forced closure of taprooms to a national shortage of aluminum cans, breweries all over the nation are struggling to stay afloat. As concert halls, restaurants, stadiums, and bars close amidst social distancing guidelines, brewers must look for new ways to sell to consumers. Many craft breweries have adopted new methods of distribution, offering curbside pickup, beer delivery, and even reaching out to retailers to carry their products. With this, the craft breweries attempt to stay agile, quickly adapting to the ever-changing landscape of the beer industry.