2016 BC Craft Beer Survey Results - Beer Me BC

2016 BC Craft Beer Survey Results – Craft Beer Consumer Statistics

2016 BC Craft Beer Survey Results – Insight Into the BC Craft Beer Consumer

This is the first in a series of articles that summarize the results of the 2016 BC Craft Beer Survey. In this article you will find a synopsis of the demographics, motivations, preferences and opinions of BC craft beer consumers. Further articles will include year-over-year analysis of results, answers to respondent questions and award the 2016 Beer Me BC People’s Choice Awards.

The 2016 BC Craft Beer Survey was the fourth annual survey designed to collect data on the craft beer industry within British Columbia. In this survey there were 1490 respondents that submitted their opinions through an online form between Nov. 1, 2016 and Nov. 30, 2016. 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 1490 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.

BC Craft Beer Stats - Gender

Of respondents to the 2016 Beer Me BC Craft Beer Survey 30% responded as female while 70% 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.

BC Craft Beer Stats - Age

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/50th percentile) response fit in the 35-42 age group.

BC Craft Beer Stats - Location

A total of 65% 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 20% from Vancouver Island & Gulf Islands plus 8% 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 population mix and a comparative lack of interest in craft beer and lower population in these areas.

BC Craft Beer Stats - Events

The number of craft beer events taking place within British Columbia has grown significantly in recent years. Survey respondents attended an average of 2.2 events each during the past year.*

BC Craft Beer Stats - Brewery Visits

The number of breweries visited by participants of this year’s survey in the past 12 months averages to 10.1 per person.  More than 95% of all respondents had visited at least one brewery in the past 12 months and 47% had visited 10 or more breweries in the same duration.

BC Craft Beer Stats - Frequency of Consumption

Looking at the frequency of consumption from survey respondents we see that 93.6% 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.

BC Craft Beer Stats - Purchase Decision

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 in purchasing beer at 4.0 followed by brewery/brand at 3.2 and reputation at 3.1.


BC Craft Beer Stats - Beer Tourism

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, 63% replied yes, 14% no and 23% were unsure.

BC Craft Beer Stats - Home Brewing

The proportion of survey respondents that have brewed beer at home in the past 12 months was 21%.

BC Craft Beer Stats - Consumption Location

The primary location for consumption of craft beer is at home. 66% of all respondents reported that the primary location where they drink beer is at their place of residence.

BC Craft Beer Stats - Selection & Flavour

Craft beer selection was rated at great by 66% of all respondents. 95% of all respondents ranked BC craft beer selection as good or great. Similarly, 75% of all survey respondents ranked BC craft beer flavour as great with 22% of responses replying with good, 98% rank flavour as being good or better. Both selection and flavour are seen as being very good in British Columbia but flavour is clearly seen as being superior to selection.

BC Craft Beer Stats - Brewery Tour

When asked if respondents had visited more than one brewery in a single day on a brewery tour outing in 2016, 60% of respondents replied that they had been on a self-guided tour. 16% replied that they had been on a tour with a charter company and 24% had not experience a brewery tour outing.

BC Craft Beer Stats - Packaging Preference

The packaging preferences of BC consumers have changed over the past few years. In the 2016 Craft Beer Survey the most popular mode of purchase was 650ml bottles at 38% while standard 330-355ml bottles were second at 20%. Third most popular was refillable 1.89l growler bottles at 15.2% of respondents. It is noteworthy as well that combining the different can formats available, 22.8% choose canned beer as their preferred beer packaging.

BC Craft Beer Stats - Purchase Location

Looking at where British Columbian craft beer drinkers most often purchase beer the private liquor store channel comes in top spot with 45% of respondents. Government liquor stores and the brewery itself were in a virtual tie with one another at 25.5% and 25.3%. The .2% difference is well between the margin of error included in the 2016 BC Craft Beer Survey results.

Finally, The craft beer style preferences. What are the preferred styles of BC Craft Beer Drinkers in 2016? This was an open ended question so there are some variances in terminology. The top 10 styles as listed below represent 75% of all responses. The top 10 craft beer styles are listed as submitted by respondants as opposed to by traditional styles.

  1. India Pale Ale
  2. Stout
  3. Sour Ale
  4. Pale Ale
  5. Lager
  6. Saison
  7. Porter
  8. Pilsner
  9. Belgian Ale
  10. Hefeweizen


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 from 2013-2016 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.

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. Hal D Hickey
    Hal D Hickey 13 December, 2016, 10:24

    I am surprised to see Stout at #2 as a preferred style considering how many BC breweries ignore or put little effort into this style. I guess this can be seen as a missed opportunity? Also surprised to see sours at #3. While I like sours, I can never see this style as my “go to” brew style.

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  2. Dennis
    Dennis 13 December, 2016, 19:03

    I’m not seeing any results regarding favourite brewery or beer. Did I miss it?

    Reply this comment
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