While spirits – thanks in part to their diversity from white to dark – remain the most popular alcoholic beverage enjoyed by consumers in 2009-2010, the beer market is anything but flat. What might be surprising is that craft beers, with their emphasis on small, independent brewers dedicated to traditional/full flavor brews are driving market growth.

According to Mintel research published in Beer: The Consumer—U.S., December 2010, 33% of all beer drinkers aged 21 and up are drinking less imported beer because they’re drinking more domestic craft beer instead. It’s true that only a modest 13% of beer drinkers say they prefer domestic craft or microbrew beer (compared to 43% for domestic and 22% for imported), but about six in 10 respondents indicate they’d like to try them, and more than half would try more craft beers if they knew more about them.

Thanks to an upsurge in social media, and the trend toward local and sustainable products, craft beer’s popularity has grown substantially in the past five years. Mintel research indicates it’s the most popular with 25-34 year-olds, a market ripe for targeted marketing efforts. Efforts that educate the beer-drinking consumer as to heritage, ingredients, flavor, and a sense of inclusion in the craft beer community will be what consumers tap into for years to come.
Garima Goel-lal, Senior Consumer Analyst – Mintel / Oxygen
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