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Craft Beer’s Changing Landscape and 2016 Trends

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Craft beer has seen a lot of action over the last few years. The all time record high was set for the number of American craft breweries open in 2015, and we’ve seen big players like Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors continue to get involved in Craft Beer. So what should we expect from craft beer for the remainder of 2016 and beyond? Of course, we can’t predict the future, but below are some current trends, thoughts from industry leaders, and some things to expect in the future!

  • Increased Diversity

As a whole, we have seen increasing interest in craft beer, and with that comes increased competition and more crowded beer markets. While this may seem daunting to new market entries, it also creates diversity of beer for a clientele that enjoys a wide variety of options. And additionally, it forces breweries to create higher quality beer, meaning for the beer drinker, there has never been a better time to find good, unique, independent craft beers.

“The pressure in crowded markets will force us all to make better beer, to strive for better shelf life, to continue to be creative and fun. Americans drink a lot of beer. A brewery the size of mine can be extremely successful capturing a tiny portion of the overall market,” explains John Saller, co-founder of Atlas Brewing Company.

  • Local Appeal

Even with increased competition and pressure from beer giants, the wide variety and demand seen in craft beer markets currently allows even small breweries to be extremely successful at the local level with the right product and niche carved out. The industry has seen double- digit growth for the last 8 years, and craft brewers saw a 13 percent increase in volume in 2015 alone. People love supporting their local breweries, and consumers are finding increased appeal in more flavorful independent brews that source from local farmers. This makes sense, too considering millennials are the largest consumers of craft beer, and their values tend to favor smaller independent businesses.

  • Sours and Session Beers

Another trend seen currently is the rise in popularity of session beers and sour beers. Session beers are those with a lower alcohol content that can be enjoyed over a longer period of time without more powerful intoxicating effects. According to Bart Watson, Chief Economist for the Brewers Association, Blonde, Kölsch and Golden Ale sales were up nearly 60% in 2015, and collectively outsell stoutsStouts, porters Porters or Belgian alesAles. Sales of Pilsners also went up 123%.

Says MaryJane Maurice, Director of Quality Assurance for Malteurop, “I see more interest than ever in malt flavor, so hopefully the pendulum is swinging back towards more balanced, “sessionable” interpretations of a number of styles. With the tropical and more delicate flavors of many new hop varieties the role of good base pale and lightly colored malts will also be important, especially for the summer seasonals.”

So where does craft beer go next? For Craft Master, we look forward to constantly growing our product offerings to compliment the changing and diverse demands of brewers. We’ll have to wait and find out, but for now, Craft Beer is here to stay!

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