I was recently sent an article and infographic on craft beer done by the Hospitality program at Kendall College out of Chicago. It may not be a perfect comparison of the British Columbia craft beer scene but it is still a good representation of what is going on. Take a peak!
The Rise of Craft Beer
As many beer lovers already know, the craft beer industry has been growing exponentially over the past few years. You can see evidence everywhere: more local breweries are popping up, bars are adding new taps, and grocery stores are stocking brands like Brooklyn Brewery and New Belgium next to the usual Budweiser and Coors Light.
According to research compiled by Kendall College’s School of Hospitality, 36% of consumers already drink craft beer. If you talk to a group of Millennials, you’ll find that even more of them drink craft beer—at least 43%. Furthermore, 45% of consumers say that they would try more craft beers if they knew more about them. And for anyone who hangs out with beer enthusiasts, all of these numbers probably sound low.
So why has everyone been climbing aboard the craft beer bandwagon recently?
Reasons for Craft Beer’s Popularity
It offers more flavor. When you open a bottle of Budweiser or Miller Light, it’s not going to taste any different than the last time you had a beer from one of those major brands. With the thousands of small independent breweries around the country, consumers have more opportunities to try different, full-flavored varieties of beer. IPAs in particular have taken off as consumers have come to embrace a hoppier taste.
It’s great for foodies. Wine connoisseurs often get into fervent discussions about what types of wine pair best with different types of foods, and now beer drinkers can also have fun experimenting with different food and beverage pairings. For example, an Irish red might go great with a burger, while a wheat beer would go nicely with sushi. Craft beer gives people a chance to savor their drink along with their meal.
It’s becoming more readily available. Gone are the days when you had limited options when it came to picking out beer at the store. Liquor and grocery stores are recognizing that their customers are in the market for more variety, and as a result they’re stocking a wider range of craft beers.
It’s getting more portable. While many breweries start out by bottling their beers, a lot are now also releasing cans, which allows people to take craft beer to places that ban bottles. Now people can enjoy craft beer while hiking, floating down a river, or going to the tennis courts.
Breweries keep innovating. Craft breweries know that the only way they are going to be able to stand out from their much bigger competitors is to keep trying new things and see what consumes latch onto. This means that different breweries will often introduce new seasonal or limited release beers, giving consumers even more to get excited about.
A Golden Era for the Craft Beer Industry
With more than 2,400 breweries around the country offering an estimated 103,585 jobs, there are plenty of opportunities for anyone who wants to work as a brewer, tasting room specialist, brewpub server, or sales manager. Ambitious individuals with a passion for craft beer can even open their own brewery. In fact, several colleges and culinary schools now offer concentrations in Beverage Management in order to prepare their students to enter the world of craft beer when they graduate. In short, thanks to the increasing popularity of craft beer, now is the ideal time to enter the industry.
Back to me.
It is great to see Colleges and Universities get into the discussion of quality craft beer. I like how they even bring up some great ideas for food pairing in the infographic. Be it in Chicago with Kendell College’s Hospitality program or locally here in Metro Vancouver on the other side of the Continent with Surrey’s campus of Simon Fraser University offering their brand new Brewing program. If like the Infographic said 45% of consumers would be willing to try craft beer then maybe we can convert 50% of them to drinking a quality product with tones of flavour. Then down the road maybe the next 45% can try it out and so on. Peoples palates are changing slowly but surely. It may have started in the wine industry but it has already had its Renascence and now it is quite obviously beers turn.