Craft beer has become the rising star in the beer market; often registering triple the growth rates of the total beer market.

2015-2016 saw notable growth in craft beer in the majority of regions, especially North America (12%) and Western Europe (14%). Strong increase was also highlighted in smaller, upcoming markets such as Italy (17%), Spain (35%) and Denmark (6%). 

GlobalData forecasts that this trend is set to continue in 2017, with the rate of growth for this small segment much greater than overall beer trends. In Poland craft beer rose by 16% in 2016 compared to a slight 2% rise for non-craft beer. Additionally, in Russia beer volumes (excluding craft) have been in decline since 2015. West Europe, helped by the UK’s continuing interest in craft beer, has struggled to keep growth in the non-craft beer segment, whereas craft volume has seen nothing but double-digit increase since 2011 and has been the key driver of new product development.

Consumers have been increasingly drawn in by the innovation in craft beer, such as using different types of hops and malts, interesting flavour combinations such as grapefruit, pineapple and lychee in Brewdog’s Punk IPA (Brewdog is the UK’s second largest craft manufacturer). The popularity of craft offerings has fragmented many markets and is often in line with the premiumisation trend and shift to drinking ‘less but better’.

The craft beer trend is continuing to expand across the world, with Russia and Brazil witnessing particularly large growth, despite both countries seeing harsh economic climates which negatively affected many beverage categories. Craft beer consumption in Italy jumped by 32% in 2015 and 17% in 2016, thanks to growing consumer preference for higher quality products and a more discerning consumer group willing to spend more on products offering an improved taste experience. In Spain many producers have emphasised the gourmet attributes of their craft offerings, such as quality of the malts used in the brewing process.