Whether we’re in a pandemic or not, for many of us, craft beer is an essential part of our lives. Our local breweries are like a second home. COVID-19 has changed how we do business. As the United States reopens and breweries begin to open their doors, we look for insights for the future of craft beer and the breweries we love.
1. Convenience is King: All Hail The Digital Marketplace
Where do we get our craft beer when we can’t go out? We go online! While stuck at home, craft beer drinkers turned to digital platforms to order a beer.
In the US, online wine, beer, spirits, and accessories sales saw an increase of 74% between March 11 – April 21, 2020. Online sales of alcohol skyrocketed to over 2 times that of a year ago, an increase of 234%. Alcohol delivery apps like Drizly and Saucy reported sales over 400% higher than the prior month.
2. Not All Beer is Treated Equally (Is It Ever?)
Did you know that 70% of craft beer sales come from the brewery’s taproom or at other restaurants and bars? As breweries, bars, and restaurants shut their doors in March, beer drinkers were left with little choice but to drink at home. This is probably why beer sales are up 16% for 2020.
Despite beer sales increasing, craft beer sales didn’t fare as well as big label beers (you know the ones). Consumers traded down to lower-priced beers and bought less craft beer. According to a recent study, sales of flavored malt beer (FMB), cider, and craft beer declined by 8.3%. The most significant declines affected small craft brewers.
3. Brand Value (and Name Recognition) Is Key
During the lockdown, consumers flocked to brands they trusted, loved, and already had a relationship with. In one survey, 69% of Americans said they purchased alcohol brands they knew and trusted.
Who do beer drinking Americans trust? The larger beer brands with long-standing brand recognition (and large advertising budgets). Some stores pared down on the variety of beers they offered due to a lack of customer interest in beer outside of the big label brands.
How Do These Insights Help Us For the Future of Craft Beer?
1. Focus on your followers
Beer drinking America loves beer, but when times are tough, they want cheap well-known beer. Now is not the time to convince big label beer-drinking, Billy, that this Hibiscus-Lime Heffeweisen is a solid choice. Amid a health crisis (or any crisis really), focus on your followers, your brand advocates, and your past customers.
2. Go beyond the taproom
With COVID-19 ever-present and continuing through 2021, beer drinkers have made changes to their lifestyles, and some of these changes might be permanent. Craft breweries should invest in digital platforms to sell beer online and continue to stay engaged with their followers online.
3. Support each other
“We’re all in this together” sounds like a cheesy slogan, but the craft beer industry is truly in this together (as always). Some craft breweries are not going to make it out of 2020, but the more you help each other out, the healthier you are together. Collaboration is at the core of the craft beer industry, so it’s time to find creative ways to support one another.
Where Can You Get Beer Online in Tampa Bay?
If you are looking for a Tampa Bay brewery that offers online sales, check out the Suncoast Brews brewery map.
Which breweries offer online sales? That’s easy, look for the shopping cart icon on a brewery and just click!