2020 Beer Industry Trends

Rhian Mainwaring
Dec 13, 2019 · 5 min read

After just over a year of trading, we’re delighted to release our 2020 trend report, drawing on findings from the platform, market research, trending tools and insights from the best in the industry.

Quality over Quantity

There has been a huge shift this year in conscious consumption, whether we’re eating out or staying in we’re choosing better quality goods made from quality ingredients created by experts. Brandwatch’s consumer trends report showed that globally, Quality was the most important factor when choosing an alcohol brand, so while we may not be drinking as frequently, when we do drink, we’re opting for quality over quantity or mindful drinking! We asked our users and beer industry insiders what they thought the biggest trend for 2020 would be, quality was first with 58% of votes.

Pale Ale to Overtake Lager

In the first 2 quarters of the year lager was the most requested style on BrewBroker, however as the year comes to a close Pale Ales are now our most frequently sort after styles. 62% of beer enquiries and tenders were for Pale Ales in 2019, this trend is showing across on-trade sales (Morning Advertiser) with Brewdog IPA outselling Camden Helles Lager this year by over 12,000H and still rising 17.7% on last year.

Pale Ale, 62% of tenders, Lager 31%, Fruit, Wheat and Stouts 2%

Low/No Alcohol

You’ll have noticed a difference in the amount of choice in bars but perhaps something the off-trade could catch up with. KAM media’s research showed that 39% of GenZers (18–24 year olds) don’t drink alcohol and search trends highlighted ‘Big Drop Brewing’ as a breakout term this year. We see multiple no alcohol tenders on the platform, new tech is coming in to revolutionise the production of no alcohol beer. Deliveroo released their trends from 2019 showing a 240% rise in orders for no alcohol beer this year, with the health and wellness trend very much the zeitgeist, this is a huge area of opportunity you can tap in to with BrewBroker.

Low Calorie

The no alcohol trend has a number of influences from diminished consumption through the week to the rise in exercise and healthy living. This brings us on to the new trend of Low Calorie drinks, a way to enjoy alcohol with less of an impact on diet. Influenced by the RTD (ready to drink) brands producing hard seltzers with lower calories that more traditional drinks, check out Drty a 4% ABV drink with just 89cals none of which are carbs. Low cal is done much more widely in America, so we need to be looking across the pond for inspiration. ‘Beer calories’ and ‘calories in beer’ were breakthrough google search trends this year.

Collabs are King

Collaborations in the brewing industry are changing, no longer just about a single beer, the industry is opening up and collaberating in many more exciting ways. The Brewgooder Gathering for World Water Day 2020 is a great example of the good the beer industry can do, and we can see many more types of collabs coming in this year, think open source brewing. BrewBroker will be focusing on connections in the beer industry, a quick and simple way to save time and money finding the perfect partner in one easy to use marketplace.

Eco Packaging & Brewing

Emma Inch’s sustainability month on Fermentation Brewing asked some really pertinent questions about the brewing industry, like, can it ever be fully sustainable? Listen to the series here. Like all industries there’s work to be done, but the likes of Good Things Brewing have been paving the way for some time. This year we’ll see more eco initiatives from packaging to production, cans are very much top dog in eco credentials as well as best for the beer, Carlsberg have been experimenting with paper bottles but I think we can all say goodbye to those pesky plastic rings.

Cans 46%, Bottles 30%, Kegs 22%, Bulk Container 2%

White Label / Private Label

The white label market was valued at £100bn in 2018 across all sectors. 32% of tender requests on the platform are for white label and this autumn we launched a managed white label service, a great revenue stream for the breweries handled by our brokers to remove the hassle. From weddings to trade shows and on to bars (read a case study here), restaurants and stores, white label beers go down a storm. You get great margin, it’s a real point of difference and a great compliment to your existing lines. Definitely one to watch in 2020.

Contract Brewing and Packaging

With just over a year under our belts and less than that trading we’ve seen huge demand for contract brewing and packaging, 68% of activity on the platform this year has come from people looking for contract brewing capacity. The stigma has been lifted, brands are proud to use capacity and skills from other breweries. It’s a no brainer, breweries with spare capacity gain extra revenue and stay in business (particularly helpful if they’re paying a higher level of duty) while new or existing set ups don’t need to invest in new equipment, instead they can grow sustainably while utilising existing brewing capacity. The brewing industry will collab on more than just recipes in 2020.

Beers Without Borders

We’re lucky to work in the beer industry, in an inclusive and diverse industry fuelled by a love of brewing, branding and socialising. Not to mention the £130bn the hospitality industry contributes to the UK economy and the 3.2m people it employs.

This year has seen some great projects, locally and nationally, from the Brewgooder Gathering through to local tap room charity incentives. The Queer Beer Project has been getting the recognition it deserves, Crowns and Hops are championing diversity in the states and women in brewing are making national headlines. It’s a great start so here’s to 2020, a year of beer without borders.

The search terms surrounding ‘beer’ peaked in June and December during the heat wave and Christmas.

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