Although the craft beer market is no longer in double digit growth, the Brewers Association has seen a rise in consumers’ beer knowledge and level of engagement with their local craft brewery.
“It does get harder and harder [for the craft beer industry] to grow off a larger base, and the loss of barrels by acquisitions from the large global brewers certainly affected the small and independent craft brewer barrel numbers and the overall volume of the beer pie,” Julia Herz, craft beer program director for the Brewers Association, told BeverageDaily.
“But engagement with the beverage of beer, especially on the full-flavored and craft side, is like nothing else this country has ever seen. It continues to rise and continues to march on.”
What it means to #beeritforward
The new #beeritforward message is the focus of the 12th annual American Craft Beer Week, taking place May 15-21 with more than 1,000 events across all 50 US states.
“When you have annual events, you definitely gain top of mind awareness and branding power each year, yet you always need to have some new element,” Herz said.
#beeritforward is designed to get beer drinkers to visit their local small and independent craft brewers and share a beer with a fellow beer lover while supporting the brewery who “beers it forward all year-long,” Herz said.
In fact, the Brewers Association estimated that over a one-year period the craft brewing community made $71m in cash donations to charitable causes.
The main challenge with planning a national, week-long event is centralizing and communicating the amount of events taking place, Herz said.
While the Brewers Association’s online publication, CraftBeer.com, has over 1,000 events listed on its official calendar, Herz says that there are in fact more events that aren't listed on the calendar and one of its challenges every year is to 'wrangle all the troops.'
Engaging the educated craft beer drinker
To capture a more engaged audience American Craft Beer Week started a partnership with Geeks Who Drink, a pub trivia organization, which will incorporate craft beer trivia-based activities at events at more than 800 locations.
“You’ve got a more educated beer lover today and that’s because of the rise of the local brewery,” said Herz.
“More people can name the local brewery down the street and with that more advanced beer culture, you have a more engaged beer lover.”