Gose or no-go? More competition moving in or more brewpubs shuttering? In 2017, craft brewing continues to be a thriving and evolving industry with millions of beer-loving fans around the world — but is it true that nothing great can stay forever? We’re looking ahead to see what’s coming next. (Hint: it’ll come in a can.)
Although this trend marks a shift, it might signal good things for existing craft breweries — some of them, at least. The booming industry of craft brewing had to slow down sometime, and 2016 was it. According to Brewers Association, craft beer volume growth was just 6% in 2016, compared to 13% in 2015. Last year also saw slightly fewer new brewpubs opening and slightly more brewpubs closing compared to the previous two years.
Industry growth may be slowing down, but craft brewing is still big business. It was a $23.5 billion business in 2016, up from $22.3 billion the year before. Industry experts expect that successful craft brewers will continue to thrive in the near future, although some will certainly be casualties of a saturated marketplace.
Cans are King
Bottles are still the primary packaging choice for craft brewers, by a wide margin. But cans are slowly yet surely gaining on bottles. In 2013, craft brewers packaged just 5.6% of volume in cans. By 2016, that number had jumped to 17.2%. During that period, brewers of all sizes increased their usage of cans.
Cans should continue to be used more prevalently, and for good reason. They’re unbreakable, stackable, airtight and impervious to light, protecting the beer within. Expect to see increased demand in cans, including crowlers. These trendy cans are still rare enough to be buzzworthy, especially among younger beer lovers.
IPAs Continue to Flourish
This is another trend that looks primed to remain steady in the near feature. IPAs have had explosive growth in popularity in the last decade, and the number of inventive variations on the theme mean that consumers don’t look to be tiring of IPAs yet.
New is What’s Next
It’s no surprise that after several years of huge growth, consumers have come to expect new developments in their local breweries. Thousands of breweries have opened in the last decade, most creating their own unique brews as an attempt to stand out from the competition. Craft beer enthusiasts are now accustomed to having a diverse range of beers to sample at any given place. Their drive to taste beers they’ve never before tried will continue to push brewers to customize and experiment with their recipes and techniques.
Expect a Frenzy for Foodie Flavors
The pumpkin beer craze is subsiding, making way for new trendy flavors to rise in popularity. Beer made with coffee looks to be one of the biggest new trends coming, while citrus, maple syrup and sweet, milky lactose are also steadily gaining popularity as beer flavorings. Basically, craft beer might become a breakfast beverage by 2018.
Authored by: Jay Kessler