2016 Booming Craft Beer Trends


According to The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), almost 207 million barrels of beer (or 2.8 billion 24-12oz. cases) were sold in the United States in 2015. Similarly, there are more than 4,800 breweries in America (TTB). Innovations and trends increase as the amount of breweries continue to grow.

Recently, Mintel Research found that proportions of newly released craft beers have grown globally from 16% in 2012 to 21% in 2015.  Key countries contributing to this trend are: Mexico, China, Italy, South Africa and Brazil.  Also from Mintel, it was seen that one in four new craft beers in the U.S. are flavored.

Exploring Beer Texture

Keep an eye out for a new type of beer: nitro beer. These new beers are carbonated with nitrogen, rather than the typical CO2. These beers also use a nitro tap, creating a smooth, creamy beer with a thick white top. These types of beers are usually stouts, but are expanding to other types of beers.

Category Insights:

  • As brewers are looking to stand out in the craft beer crowd, expansion past the typical grains, hops, yeast and water are surely to be seen even more frequently in the future.
  • Micro-brewers have often been brewing one-time-only flavored brews which drive sales and innovation within the company.
  • Seasonal brews are also extremely popular with consumers, becoming a key driver for U.S. purchases of craft beers.

Flavor Insights:

  • Spicy/spices and pumpkin are two leading flavor components in U.S. craft beers.
  • While the craft beer market is extremely competitive, flavor is an easy way to differentiate from other beers on the market.
  • A few top flavors released in 2015 are: lemon (11.5%), grapefruit (5.4%), tequila (5.1%), raspberry (4.6%) with lime and apple tied at 4.3%.

Flavor Launches to Look Out For:

  • Berries: raspberry, strawberry, cranberry, blackberry, arctic berry, Marion berry, blueberry, huckleberry and elderberry.
  • Citrus: blood orange, orange, grapefruit, lemon, lime and citrus.
  • Fruits: apple, watermelon, pear, cherry, pomegranate, mango, apricot, banana, pineapple, peach, kiwi, raisin, rhubarb, plum and grape.
  • Spices: vanilla, salt, ginger, hops, cardamom, coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice.
  • Flowers: lavender, jasmine, hibiscus, cherry blossom, rose and elder flowers.
  • Vegetables: pumpkin, pine nut, jalapeño, ghost chili, poblaño, habeñero, chili and chipotle.
  • Nuts: peanut, pecan, coconut and hazelnut.
  • Coffee/Syrup: honey and maple.
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