2015 BC Craft Beer Survey Results – The State of Craft Beer

What is Driving BC Craft Beer Forward in 2016?

The 2015 BC Craft Beer Survey was the third annual survey designed to collect data on the craft beer industry within British Columbia. In this survey there were 1390 respondents that submitted their opinions through an online form between Nov. 1, 2015 and Nov. 30, 2015. Given that the legal drinking age is 19 in British Columbia, all participants under that age were forbidden from completion. In this article you will find a snapshot in time that shows that proportions of responses for multiple choice questions. In some cases the number of responses for a question may have been less than 1390 as no questions other than age were mandatory.

The BC Craft Beer Survey does not accurately portray the opinions of British Columbia residents. This study is a representation of those that are within the craft beer consumer group and have some engagement level with the industry through online channels. This is a non-random sample that gains a statistically significant picture of the craft beer consumer group within British Columbia.

There will be three follow up articles from the data collected in this survey. They will show trends over time, people’s choice awards, and attempt to address the questions and comments brought up from respondents.


Of respondents to the 2015 Beer Me BC Craft Beer Survey 29% responded as female while 71% of respondents were male. This ratio of responses shows the male bias within the craft beer industry. There appears to be a significantly larger male population engaged in craft beer within British Columbia.


In the survey responses the mode (most prevalent) response is from the 27-34 age category closely followed by the 35-42 age group. The Median (middle) response fit in the 35-42 age group.


A total of 64% of all respondents were from the Vancouver Coast & Mountain Regions of British Columbia representing a bias towards the South West corner of the province. With 19% from Vancouver Island & Gulf Islands plus 9% from the Thompson Okanagan these numbers are large enough to be considered statistically relevant for these regions as well. The areas of Northern British Columbia, Cariboo Chilcotin Coast and Kootenay Rockies are insignificant in this study. The low representation shows the comparitive lack of interest in craft beer and lower population in these areas.


The number of craft beer events taking place within British Columbia has grown significantly in recent years. Survey respondents attended an average of 2.3 events each during the past year.*


Even more impressive than the number of events attended is the number of breweries visited. This year the average number of breweries visited per respondent was 6.4. More than 95% of all respondents had visited at least one brewery in the past 12 months.

With the number of 10+ responses in this category the mean value accuracy is diminished since a value of 10 was used for calculations. The mean number of breweries visited is likely higher than 6.4. In the 2016 survey we will look at modifying this question to gain a more accurate representation of the population.


Looking at the frequency of consumption from survey respondents we see that 94.3% of respondents have at lease one beer per week. The most frequent level of consumption is the 3-5 days per week range which represents 42% of all responses.


There is a lot going on in the purchase decision factor graph. In this figure you will find the relative importance of each purchase decision making factor on a scale of 1-5. The green line shows the mean value of importance for each aspect. Here style is the most important factor at 4.32 followed by brewery at 3.43 and reputation at 3.30. This year we asked an additional question about packaging format which came out with the lowest importance with a mean value of 2.43.


Breweries are a tourism destination for many people within and outside of British Columbia. When asked if respondents planned to visit a brewery more than 100km from their place of residence in the next 12 months 61% replied yes, 15% no and 24% were unsure.


The proportion of survey respondents that have brewed beer at home in the past 12 months was 24%.


The primary location for consumption of craft beer is at home. 68% of all respondents reported that the primary location where they drink beer is at their place of residence.


Craft beer selection was rated at great by 64% of all respondents. 96% of all respondents ranked BC craft beer selection as good or great. The variety of craft beer available within British Columbia does not appear to be a concern.


A massive 75% of all survey respondents ranked BC craft beer flavour as great. With 23% of responses replying with good, nearly 98% rank flavour as being good or better. The flavour of British Columbia craft beer appears to be considered very high by survey respondents.


When asked if respondents had visited more than one brewery in a single day on a brewery tour outing, 59% of respondents replied that they had been on a self-guided tour. 13% replied that they had been on a tour with a charter company and 28% had not experience a brewery tour outing.


The packaging preferences of BC consumers have changed over the past few years. In the 2015 Craft Beer Survey the most popular mode of purchase was 650ml bottles at 40% while standard 330-355ml bottles were second at 22%. Third most popular was refillable 1.89l growler bottles at 18% of respondents.

Finally, The craft beer style preferences. What are the prefered styles of BC Craft Beer Drinkers? This was an open ended question so there are some variances in terminolgy. These were rated as respondents filled in the field.

  1. India Pale Ale
  2. Stout
  3. Pale Ale
  4. Sour Ale
  5. Saison
  6. Lager
  7. Porter
  8. Pilsner
  9. Wheat Ale
  10. Extra Special Bitter


What do you think about this information? Do you agree? Are you surprised? Tell us what you think in the comment section below.

Next up will be a comparison of data between 2013, 2014 and 2015 responses. Stay tuned to see how the consumer preferences of craft beer drinkers in British Columbia are changing.

*In making calculations where 10+ is a response option, the value of 10 was used in all circumstances.

Tags: survey

About Author

Dustan Sept

Dustan Sept is the founder of Beer Me BC. His passion for craft beer drove the creation of beermebc.com in 2012. To learn more about the beermebc.com editorial team visit beermebc.com/the-beer-me-bc-team/.


  1. Tania
    Tania 7 December, 2015, 12:36

    So men age 27 – 42 in the Van LM area go to 2 craft beer events/yr while visiting > 6 breweries. They drink beer every second day of the week at home (although they’ve never brewed their own) while planning trips to breweries > 100 km away. And craft selection / flavor of bombers encourages their pursuit of regional flavours. Good to know :)

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