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Is Lager Really Having a Moment?

Be still, my beating heart: There are data to back up the oft-repeated (or is it oft-wished?) observation that lager may be the next big thing.

Joe Stange May 12, 2020 - 6 min read

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For years, beer writers like me have been predicting (if not just wistfully hoping) that lager’s time to shine is nigh. Anecdotally, at least—on tap lists, on shelves, on social media—it looks and feels like characterful lager is finally having its moment. But is there any hard evidence to back it up?

To be clear: Yes, I know that lager is already the most popular type of beer in the world by far. But there is lager, and then there is lager. In this case, I’m not talking about the ones from globally dominant beer companies and, farther abroad, various national monopolies and quasi-monopolies. I’m talking about the stuff from smaller, independent breweries, which tends to be closer in character and spirit to what is brewed in the lager homelands of Austria, Czechia, and Germany.

One way to check is to look at off-premise retail scan data over the past year. It doesn’t tell us what people are buying from breweries or specialty beer stores, but it does offer a glance at what they’re buying from supermarkets, convenience stores, and similar outlets—you know, where the normies get their beer.

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Joe Stange is Managing Editor of Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine® and the Brewing Industry Guide®. Have story tips or suggestions? Contact him at [email protected].