Capitalizing on the beer market’s generational changes

By Sarah Diedrich

Beer has been everything from a dietary staple to an anchor beverage for parties for millennia. Accordingly, the beer market is crowded with multiple vendors trying to reach different audiences with tailored products.Despite that, beer launches in the United States are down almost 10 percent in the past year. While sales revenues are up slightly, overall unit and volume sales are flat.

Sensient marketing follows beer trends to anticipate consumer desires, so we are ready when manufacturers want to assess their current product mix, look at new lines, or contemplate changes in profile or style. Here are a few points that are affecting beer flavoring, production and sales:

Craft goes mainstream

  • Artisanal, craft, limited run … whatever you call them, they’re mainstream now — only 3 of the top 30 beers on Untappd are not stouts or IPAs. And 80 percent of consumers (all ages) answered ‘True’ to the statement “Craft beer is worth the extra money”.
  • The US. shows on-trade volume decline (-2%), with more hospitality venues buying local or brewing their own.

New-age drinkers have a different relationship with alcohol

  • IRI reported that for the first time the top 3 selling beers are light beer
  • Younger generations are reducing their intake in alcohol globally (EU, APAC & LATAM) with a more health-aware youth. US reports underage drinking is in decline.
  • The iGeneration, whose oldest members are now 22, have always known craft beer, and they equate it with an integrated experience around music, food and entertainment.

Consumer beer consumption changes

  • US. Consumers report that enjoying available selection & social changes are the top two reasons for an increase in their beer consumption from prior year.
Sensient Primary Research 2018

Sensient Primary Research 2018
  • US. Consumers report that dieting/health is the top reason for a decrease in their beer consumption from prior year.
Sensient Primary Research 2018

Sensient Primary Research 2018

Purchase patterns and packaging

  • Same volume, different size: Consumers still buy plenty of beer, but they want to try new things. Six-pack or 72-oz. packaging shows the largest growth in sales, with 288oz/ case packaging declining.
  • Bottles and cans continue to battle it out, with cans now up slightly while bottles decline. Cans are the answer to protecting the integrity of the beer shielding it from light, oxygen and heat

While beer, and beer drinkers, will always be a major segment of the adult-beverage population, it’s important to keep in mind that their demographics and tastes shift. Sensient’s technical teams are here to work with you to create products that match consumer palates and lifestyle preferences.