4 Global Consumer Trends Craft Beer Can Capitalize On

Before arriving at SweetWater Brewing, CMO Brian Miesieski worked for international beer powerhouse Guinness and he shared with Brewer recently what he learned while there when it came to research and innovation for beer.

“The information I was getting fed was just amazing as far as global consumer trends that were actually fueling the fire of craft beer,” he said in a discussion about how SweetWater set goals for the future. The 2022 Expert Outlook will be in the November/December issue of Brewer, which will be in mailboxes soon.

“What I’ve learned is if you can tap into one global consumer trend, you have a great shot of being successful,” said Miesieski, who has been with SweetWater since 2014. “Two or three? Then you really can be humming.”

At the time he was at Guinness, that team had identified eight global consumer trends that were shaping consumer behaviors at that time and Miesieski said craft beer was delivering upon four of those eight.

“That’s almost 14 years ago and they’re still sort of intact right now, to a very large extent,” he said.

Celebrating Roots

“Consumers like the fact that there are people … real people behind the brand,” he said. “They like the local pride, they love authenticity, provenance, and good tradition. That is still very much intact with craft beer. That’s why you see a lot of these independent brewers, they’ll put their founders at the forefront and be really accessible.”

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Individual Expression

“Being independent, being creative, being unique … don’t look mainstream, as we like to say,” Miesieski shared. “That’s pretty much what drove the craft beer industry and all the great brands that make up the industry.”

Premium Experiences

Making sure that there’s substance was identified as one of those upcoming trends back in 2007 and craft breweries flourish in that department.

“You’re using great ingredients, you’re passionate about quality,” Miesieski said. “That’s obviously a huge part of craft, and still is today.”

Even as breweries have branched into trends like hard seltzers, giving a better experience, as SweetWater has planned with its Oasis line, is key.

“You want to make sure all that is in those liquids as well,” he said.

The brewery just launched an Oasis lemonade extension along with a hard tea line.

“We like to believe it’s more premium, better-tasting …it’s going to be better than the mainstream,” Miesieski said.

Health & Well-Being

It’s an interesting trend that didn’t seem possible, but “better for you” alcohol is a huge part of marketing now and lines like low-calorie beer and alternate alcohol like hard seltzers have grasped younger consumers’ attention.

“You can’t obviously say alcohol is good for you. We all know that,” Miesieski said. “But what it does mean is people are looking for natural ingredients and handcrafted growing processes, and making sure you’re all about quality. You can sort of see consumers just want to consume better.

“Well, fast forward to today, everything you’re seeing and beyond beer. Legal drinking age consumers are really changing the game. And they’re looking at that fourth trend sort of a little bit differently than we did 14 years ago, but it’s there. So I just always say the interesting thing is 14 years later what really made craft beer explode is still very much intact today.”

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