The Brewers Association knows what you picture when you hear “craft beer drinker.” White male, 20’s or 30’s. Ubiquitous beard. Upper middle class, professional employment, disposable income to burn on a rare barrel-aged sour. They know, because for many years, that’s what the Brewers Association pictured as well. But according to newly released statistics from the craft beer industry’s advocacy group, those demographics continue to change and diversify.
At the Great American Beer Fest, the organization gathered 465 credentialed journalists, many of whom attended the Friday afternoon media brunch. There, they listened to presentations from brewers and industry analysts, which revealed some intriguing statistics. Dr. Bart Watson, the Chief Economist for the Brewers Association, presented a series of numbers that leap off the page and reveal how much craft beer has truly grown in recent years.
1. 75% of all drinkers now live within 10 miles of a craft brewery
Not only do drinkers everywhere now have access to beer, most people have very easy access to the SOURCES of that beer. As there is no better way to gain an appreciation for craft beer than by seeing it made at its source and talking to the people who make it, this ease of access is fueling new drinkers to join the craft fold every day.
2. Young women ages 21-34 now consume craft beer over index (over the national average), and represent 15% of the total consumption.
Craft beer isn’t just for bros—women continue to join the ranks of the bearded drinkers in a huge way. Female-owned breweries are popping up every day, and the ratio of female brewers is increasing as well. The fact that women 21-34 are now over index means that they are one of craft’s most ardent group of supporters, and the 15% they make up is JUST the 21-34 bracket. That’s a hugely significant number.
3. The bottom 60% of households in income now consume 40% of the country’s craft beer by volume.
Likewise, craft beer isn’t just for the affluent. Although it may be more expensive than macro brews, the Brewers Association continues to push craft beer as “an affordable luxury,” much cheaper in general than many artisan foodstuffs or other indulgences. Beer has always been the alcoholic beverage of “the common man,” and increasingly the common man has developed a taste for craft brews, showing that craft has been increasing the breadth of its universal appeal.