When an independent craft brewer is bought out by a larger beer brand – like Anheuser-Busch InBev’s acquisition of Wicked Weed or Heineken’s purchase of Lagunitas – the move creates a lot of hubbub in the beer industry. But do these ownership changes really matter to beer drinkers? A new survey suggests that, at the very least, drinkers are aware of the idea of “independence” – and the term may even influence their willingness to buy certain products.
According to the results of a Harris Poll of 2,000 regular craft beer drinkers (co-developed by Nielsen and craft beer news site Brewbound) regarding 29 different beer-related terms, respondents were most familiar with the term “independent/independently-owned,” with 81 percent of people polled saying they knew the term as it relates to beer. “Traditional” and “hoppy” also scored well, whereas more esoteric terms such as the Great American Beer Festival acronym “GABF,” “brett” and “funky” had the lowest levels of familiarity.
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Of course, the terms “independent” and “independently-owned” are relatively straightforward in their meaning; however, the survey had an even more interesting finding: These terms also ranked second-highest among words drinkers said would be “more likely” to influence their purchases. Only “drinkable” ranked higher. Combining these two results would seem to show that independent products have a leg up on the competition in the beer market among craft beer fans.