Emerging trends: Craft beer
In this article, Questia Group focuses on craft beer. Our research was conducted through an online survey on our platform http://questia.ro covering 676 respondents. The survey was active between 27 and 28 June 2017. Our key findings are presented below.
As one article puts it, away from football sponsorship and mainstream media, beer has been reinventing itself. However, the per capita consumption by Germans, who are some of the world’s biggest lovers of beer, has dropped by one-third since 1976 . Some of the reasons include demographic changes, the emergence of alternative beverage categories like wine, cider, and health-oriented drinks, tighter regulatory and taxation measures, as well as the continuing global economic slowdown. According to McKinsey&Company competitive pressure has intensified dramatically in the premium and super-premium segments, which have experienced strong growth and retained attractive profit margins. Moreover, across the globe, consumers are increasingly drawn to beer that skews either to the high end or the low.
The decrease of mainstream beer consumption impacts the rise of craft beer, which goes hand in hand with consumers' need for variety, creativity, and diversity of styles, together with the shift towards localism, natural ingredients, and artisanal methods. Thus, the increase in consumer experimentation, and lack of brand loyalty has dramatically changed how beers are sold. Filling this gap, the craft beer movement taps into several long-term trends, including the search for novelty and variety and the passion for brands with local provenance. "Craft", "artisan", "micro" and "nano" are cult adjectives that describe the microbrewing movement, which began in the United Kingdom in the 1970s (although traditional artisanal brewing existed in Europe for centuries).
In Romania, in 2016, the beer market volume stood at 15.8 million hl, a level that has also been reached in 2015, while the consumption per capita stood in turn to the previous year, of 80 l. The value of the local beer market exceeded EUR 2 billion last year, up 6-7% over the previous year, whereas the volume of beer sales recorded a very small increase of less than 1%. The leading beer-making brands on the market are Bergenbier, Heineken, United Romanian Breweries Bereprod, Ursus Breweries and Martens, the Beer Clinic brewery and they provide more than 80% of the quantity of beer consumed in Romania. However, craft beer brands are beginning to emerge into the Romanian market, with breweries scattered around the country, with a large share being present in Bucharest. See here a report on the sector.
Consumer awareness over craft beer is rather high: almost 67% of respondents have heard of craft beer, while 33.1% did not.
Asked what types of craft beer respondents tried, the results show that unpasteurized (48.8%), pilsner (36.8%), ale (22.1%) and lager (19.1%) are the top preferred craft beers. IPA and stout/porter have lower consumption rate, while more than a quarter (32.1%) of answers point out that some respondents haven’t tried craft beer yet. This shows that there is plenty of space for microbreweries to emerge in Romania.
Interestingly, the majority of the respondents (81.0%) agree to a very great extent and to a great extent that there should be a greater variety of types of beers and types of brands at urban/music festivals. This points out to the rise in popularity of craft festivals, be it gourmet or beer-related.
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