2016 BC Craft Beer Trends – 4 years of consumer survey results tallied
The Changing State of Craft Beer – Comparing 2013 – 2016 Annual Survey Data
Beer Me BC has been running an annual survey since 2013 where we ask for the preferences and opinions of those who enjoy the flavours of BC craft beer. With four years worth of data we can observe the trends that appear within the data to see how opinions are changing over time. The data represented in the diagrams below are representative of those engaged in BC craft beer. This is not a representation of BC as a whole or even that of those who drink beer. These are people that took the time to fill out the survey hosted on beermebc.com.
The descriptions may seem technical at times but this is done to remain as statistically relevant as possible. The graphs are designed to be intuitive and informative but if you have any questions about the data please do not hesitate to ask questions in the comment section below.
The mean age of craft beer drinkers in BC appears to be changing. Here we see a stacked column graph to help show cumulative proportional change. Since 2013 we have seen a continued increase in the average age of respondents. The age categories including respondents of 43 years and older has seen the largest change over the past three years of survey results.
The location of respondents has not changed drastically over time with the primary region being Vancouver, Coast & Mountains. We havenot seen any significant changes year over year except for a general increase in the Thompson Okanagan Region.
In general respondents are appearing to be attending events in greater moderation. We have seen a decrease in the number of respondents that have visited 0 and 10+ events in the past year. The number of respondants that have attended 3 events has seen the only consistent and significant increase in prevalence.
Over the past 4 years the number of breweries attended by survey respondents has increased drastically. Nearly half of all respondents had visited greater than 10 breweries during 2016 while only 13.5% had done so in 2015. We can also observe a steady decrease in the number of people that have visited between 0 and 4 breweries in the past year.
Looking at the brewery and event attendance differently we can see more of a trend. Brewery visits increased from a mean response of 3.95 in 2013 up to 6.97 in 2016. Craft beer event attendance on the other hand have been relatively flat.*(see footer for calculation disclaimer)
Similar to the ratings of flavour, the ratings for craft beer selection are also very positive. The percentage of great ratings rose from 52.0% up to 66.2% between 2013 and 2016. It is worth noting though that the rating of craft beer selection been rating consistently lower than that of flavour.
The primary place of consumption for craft beer remains to be at home but in a slight downward trend. The most significant change represented here is the increase in consumption at the brewery. Over the four years reported the brewery rose as the primary place of consumption from 2.6% up to 12.1%. This change appears to be at the expense of those drinking at home and at a traditional bar or pub.
2016 marked a distinct shift in the place of purchase for craft beer. The Private retailer remains the top purchase destination but continues to decrease in its dominance. Also significant is that purchases direct from the brewery have seen their first decrease since the survey has been run. Government liquor stores however saw an increase while they have been flat in years past. It is likely that this shift is due to the increased craft beer selection at government liquor stores and the introduction of cold beer and increased store hours.
Looking at the purchase and consumption at the brewery we have seen a continued rise in consumers that are using the brewery as a social destination and consuming in brewery tasting rooms and lounges. For the first time though, we have seen a decrease in those that are reporting the brewery as their primary place of purchase for beer. The purchase percentage is still more than twice that of the consumption though.
Over the past four years we have observed a downward trend in the importance of everything when making a purchase decision except for product reviews. Reviews were the least important aspect reported in 2013 and in 2016 are second only to style. The overall decrease is likely a sign of the willingness for consumers to try new things and explore new flavours.
Packaging preference have also shifted in 2016. For the first year we observed a decrease in the preference for growlers. This coincides with a decrease in purchases made at the brewery. Bottles as a whole have also declined with a steady increase for canned product. The preference for cans has nearly doubled in the past four years with the largest increase found in the tall can format.
The continued moderation of beer consumption can also be observed. Those reporting as drinking 6-7 days per week have decreased by 5% of the total while the greatest increase can be seen in those consuming 1-2 days per week.
What do you think. Where do you see craft beer going in British Columbia. Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.
*In mean value calculations where 10+ was a selection option, a value of 10 was used. With such an assumption the mean value reported will be lower than actual as it under-represents participants with a value of greater than 10. In subsequent years of surveying we will look to modify the question to allow for answers of 11 and above.