BC Craft Beer Survey - 7 Year Trend Analysis

BC Craft Beer Trends: Seven Year Survey Data Analysis

A Closer Look at the BC Craft Beer Survey Data from 2013 to 2019

In its 7th year running, the BC Craft Beer Survey continues to track the preferences of craft beer drinkers in BC. Each year, we add newly collected data to our archives in order to better understand the shifting preferences and trends in BC Craft Beer. Many of the survey questions have not changed since inception, which allows us to track changes with relative statistical accuracy.

Every survey has bias, and this is no exception. The survey targets consumers that are engaged in the BC craft beer market. As a result, the data is a representation of the opinions of BC craft beer drinkers, not the whole of British Columbians. As the proportion of people drinking craft beer grows there is also a shifting demographic of people that is engaged and potentially answering this survey. (See more about 2019 participant demographics in our 2019 BC Craft Beer Survey Summary.)

BC Craft Beer Consumer Age Trend

In demographics, when we look at the average age of respondents we see a continued shift to an older cohort. The age segments including 19-34 year old consumers continues to shrink as a proportion of the market while those aged over 43 have consistently increased.

We suspect that the traditional craft beer consumer is aging within their segments driving the shift older while at the same time, older consumers are entering the market. On the other side of the coin though, there are few young consumers entering the craft beer market. This is likely driven by the younger demographic drinking less, and shifting towards the cooler/RTD style beverages.

BC Craft Beer Trends - Frequency of Consumption

The consumption habits of craft beer drinkers has been relatively stable for the past 7 years. The majority of consumers drink craft beer 3-5 days per week. The largest changes in this category can be seen as a decline in high consumption (6-7 days per week) and a rise in semi-frequent consumers (1-2 days per week)

BC Brewery & Beer Event Attendance Trend

Visiting breweries and attending events saw a big shift back around 2015 but has stabilized since then. The average consumer declined slightly in the number of breweries visited from 7.78 to 7.22 while the number of events rose very slightly from 2.03 to 2.20.

BC Craft Beer Consumption Location Trend

The location in which consumers drink craft beer remains primarily at home. While this category has shrunk over the years, it remains the largest segment. Consumption at the brewery continues to grow at a significant pace eroding the bar/pub location and to a lesser extent, home consumption.

BC Craft Beer Primary Purchase Location Trend

The primary purchase location continues to be private liquor stores with direct brewery purchases and government liquor store purchases close to tied for second spot. There was a jump in Governement Liquor Store responses this year which could signal the affect of the cold-zone implementation and improved craft beer selection and programming. On the other hand though, we saw a decline in direct brewery as a response. These slight changes could signal a new trend or may be statistical anomalies. Only time will tell for sure.

BC Craft Beer Trends - Consumer Package Format Preference

Packaging preferences continue to be one of the categories with significant year over year changes. The tall can continues its meteoric rise, now taking nearly 50% of all responses. Standard cans appear to have flatlined around 16%, and all formats of glass are in steep decline. Standard bottles, bomber bottles and growlers are seeing significantly less interest than in years past.

BC Craft Beer Purchase Motivation Trend

We also asked consumers, “what is the most important factor when purchasing beer”. Here, flavour still remains top dog, but has been in decline since 2015. Beer style and the brewery/brand are the two categories that have seen significant increases in popularity since the survey’s inception.

In addition to asking what is the most important purchase decision factor, we also ask respondents to rate 7 different factors in importance on a scale from 1 to 5. Style is also the most important here, with a mean importance of around 4.3, but Reputation and Brewery are behind at around 3.3. Slight increases in the importance of price and packaging are offset by a decrease in location as an important purchase factor.

Thanks for another year

Thank you to everyone that has continued to participate in our annual craft beer survey. It has been an amazing ride over the past 7 years and the trends that we see here help brewers better make the products that we all love. A big thank you as well to all of our partners that provided prizing for this year’s survey. We couldn’t do it without you:

The Best in BC Craft Beer – 2019 People’s Choice Awards

The Results Are In! – 2019 BC Craft Beer Survey Summary

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Beer Me BC

Beer Me British Columbia: since 2012, BC's #1 resource for craft beer reviews, BC beer industry insights and career opportunities.

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