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Drinkers Decoded: What Market Research Says about Today’s Consumers

These demographic insights could help you please the fans you already have—and, potentially, win the ones you don’t have yet.

Kate Bernot Sep 19, 2022 - 10 min read

Drinkers Decoded: What Market Research Says about Today’s Consumers Primary Image

Choices at the Beer Temple in Chicago include wine, draft cocktails, and aperol spritz, besides a wide variety of beers. Photo: Joe Stange.

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“We make the beer we like to drink.” That’s the dream of every brewer, right? But if that brewer likes only, say, grodziskies and ESBs, the sales team may want to have a few words. The reality is that consumer preferences rule the day, especially as competition heats up for drinkers’ dollars. This applies not only to what’s on tap, but to the food menu, décor, music, and more.

In August, the Brewers Association released its annual consumer survey conducted by The Harris Poll. This poll of 2,035 people captures the sentiments of customers who drink craft beer at least several times per year; in other words, people who are existing craft consumers. Some of the key findings from that report are summarized below.

However, to fill in the gaps—to shed a light on potential customers, not just those who regularly choose craft beer—we’re supplementing that report’s findings with intel on two other important demographics for small breweries. The first group is people who’ve visited breweries in person, whether just once or several times. The second group is new legal-drinking-age consumers, a generation that has more options for alcohol and cannabis than any previous group. Both casual taproom visitors and young drinkers represent important demographic segments, and breweries will want to address their needs and preferences if they’re going to widen the welcome to more fans.

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