Last year craft beer producers faced a series of significant challenges. The return to normalcy after the pandemic, inflation with a massive increase in the cost of raw materials and the resulting reduction of profit margins, combined with the inevitable rise in consumer prices, have marked an era that’s been full of setbacks.
Our sector, one that lets nothing stand in its way, is taking it more as a transition phase, with abundant opportunities for reinvention, than as a crisis. The craft segment is strong, robust, resilient and, above all, determined to move forward.
On the verge of obtaining sales figures similar to those seen before the pandemic, in general terms, people view 2023 as a promising year for brewing beer. Don’t miss the biggest trends in the craft beer industry for coming months.
7 trends in the craft industry for 2023
1. Diversity and expansion of the sector. Craft beer for everyone.
The offer of craft beers is growing. Premiumisation of the sector is now a reality that has spread to general consumption. It’s been a while since special beers stopped being for a minority. Now everyone has a practically infinite range of craft beers available to them at any bar or on supermarket shelves.
2. Beer in bulk or in jumbo package sizes are gaining ground, and people are going for higher ABV levels.
Inflation is causing households to tighten their belts. This is leading consumers to look for ways to get more for their money, and both beer in bulk or in jumbo package sizes (12 to 18 units) and stronger craft products with a higher alcohol content are two of the most popular options at the moment.
3. Craft brewers are starting to compete with the macro-brewers. What’s the reason?
In principle, the craft beer market has stabilised in recent years. Nonetheless, this tendency can change, expand in the short term and compete with the macro-brewers and markets. This is because the younger market, as it grows older, will no longer see craft beer as a special option but rather as a product that is normalised, accessible to everyone and available in any establishment.
4. Fresh hops on the rise.
Hop cultivation in the United States grew between 2012-2018 by nearly 80%. This means that the quantity of freshly harvested hops for new beers is also growing exponentially.
Beers made with fresh hops tend to have a delicious flavour and be highly appreciated by consumers.
5. Craft malts are coming into their own.
Given the popularity of hops, craft malts are coming into their own, especially because brewers are realising that it pays to focus on every one of the ingredients that go into a good beer. Barley cultivation is expected to increase in coming months.
6. 2023, the year of non-alcoholic craft beer.
Non-alcoholic beer has had a profound effect on the craft beer market. It opens up a large number of possibilities for increasing and encouraging the production of higher quality non-alcoholic beer.
7. It’s a time for coexistence, not competition, with the big manufacturers.
The craft sector has a great challenge to face, and this year is crucial. The hallmark of the craft segment is great variety, and this should become synonymous with opportunity for being able to coexist with the beer giants.
The beer styles creating the most buzz in 2023
1. Sour beers are gaining fans.
If you asked a beer drinker before the pandemic what a sour beer was, most wouldn’t have known how to answer. Nonetheless, this style has been able to position itself in a very short time. Sour beers are now very well represented on the beer lists of bars and restaurants.
They offer mild, light flavours with bold and fruity touches that are attracting palates usually more inclined towards other drinks like cocktails and wines.
2. Beers with CBD.
CBD is an element that comes from the cannabis plant but which is non-psychotropic, in other words, its effects are much milder. In Europe, you can find this type of beer with alcohol or CBD (as THC is illegal). Drinking them produces certain relaxing effects, as they are made with terpenes and oils derived from cannabis.
3. Lagers are finally finding their place in the craft world.
The flavour of lagers, one of the most-consumed beer styles in the world, used to be “looked down upon” and excluded from the most authentic craft sector. However, lagers have managed to find a following among microbrewery enthusiasts. A larger number of consumers have now had the chance to try IPAs and, let’s be realistic, not all palates are ready for and can stand the flavours of these hoppier beers. The flavours of lagers, in the end, are more familiar.
4. Keep your eye on rosé beers.
Rosé beers are one of the latest innovations in the craft world. They’re a combination of beer and wine, because these two beverages are finally finding synergies and connections. In this case, they’re making this kind of beer one of the most attractive trends for 2023. After many years of being separate and with a certain degree of competition, wine and beer are now great allies.
Inspired by rosé wine, these beers are fermented with grapes from, among other places, California vineyards. This is the case of Rosalie Beer Rosé from the Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
In Spain, specifically from Madrid, we have Armonía Grape Beer, one of the most promising entrants in the category. It’s a new vintage craft beverage.