Craft beer drinkers favour independently-owned local brands

In encouraging news for smaller boutique brewers, a study of 17,000 craft beer drinkers has revealed that ownership matters when it comes to beer selection, with a strong preference for independently-owned breweries.

Created by craft beer retailer Beer Cartel, the 2017 Australian Craft Beer Survey is the most comprehensive, publicly available, study ever undertaken with Australian drinkers of such beer.

Richard Kelsey, Director of Beer Cartel, said the findings were a reflection of the attitudes of those who purchase artisanal beers.

“Craft beer is an artisanal product that is produced by skilled workers using the best ingredients possible. There is a story behind the beers and the brewery that makes them. Independent ownership is a part of this story that drinkers buy into,” said Kelsey.

“We’re seeing consumer backlash when small breweries sell out to a large corporations worldwide. An Australian example was the displeasure voiced when Perth’s Little Creatures was bought by Lion in 2012. As a result, these findings are not altogether surprising, but the difference in willingness to buy craft beer from an independent brewery compared to a large corporation is.”

Key findings of the research included:

  • Brewery ownership is important: 64 per cent want to know who owns the beer they’re drinking.
  • There is a strong preference for craft beer from independently owned Australian breweries: 99 per cent are happy to buy craft beer from an independent Australian owned brewery.
  • In comparison, just 23 per cent are happy to buy craft beer from a large multi-national company.
  • There is strong interest for a seal to identify whether a beer is from an independent Australian brewery: 82 per cent indicated that an independent brewers seal would have a medium to large impact on the product they purchase.
  • Pirate Life is Australia’s best craft brewery: voted number one by Australian craft beer drinkers, ahead of Feral Brewing which took out the top position in last year’s study.
  • Pale Ale reigns as Australia’s most consumed artisanal beer style: Pale Ale is enjoyed by 92 per cent of craft beer drinkers Australia-wide.

Chris McNamara, Executive Officer at the Independent Brewers Association (IBA) of Australia said that the study was a great way to better understand consumer perceptions towards the Australian craft beer industry, particularly around the topic of ownership.

“Earlier in the year we made a change in our constitution to only allow breweries that were independently owned. This change was made to support our member base and the objectives of the association, but it is also refreshing to see that consumers share the same viewpoint”, said McNamara.

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