With the Top 10 lagers and ales of 2014 featuring products from the major brewers – the likes of AB InBev, Heineken, Molson Coors, Diageo and Miller Brands – how much is the beer landscape changing to match consumer habits? And how much of an impact are independent breweries making?
A lot has been spoken about Craft Beers over the past 18 months with the smaller scale breweries gathering a lot of attention. Since the 2002 Progressive Beer Duty legislation the number of UK breweries has risen to over 1400.
In the UK, Brewdog have grown from zero bars in 2007 and 1,050 HL brewed to 26 bars and 90,000 HL brewed in 2014. They are not the only ones - many other niche products are making waves in the beer market – Meantime and Brooklyn Lager to name a couple of our favourites.
But are the major breweries worried?
A number of them are shifting some of their focus on to this market.
Taking Diageo as an example, Guinness have released variants of their classic brand to tap into this growing market.
AB InBev are also expanding their product base with their acquisition of Seattle based Elysium Brewing.
SABMiller are in the news this week with the biggest sign that large corporates recognise the impact of the smaller, independents with their acquisition of the Meantime Brewing Company.
From talking to people in the industry every day we are seeing brands place more and more emphasis on differentiating themselves from the competition and targeting their key demographics. This is perhaps why Peroni, a heavily targeted premium beer, saw a 15% increase in their 2014 profits.
There can be little doubt that consumer habits are changing and craft beer is reaping the rewards.
We would love to know if you agree - are the major brewers right to move into the market? And are 'craft beers' here to stay or will they become part of the mainstream?