Craft Beer Drinkers Are Less Adventurous Than They Used to Be, Survey Says

How many brands do you buy in a month?

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According to the craft beer trade group the Brewers Association, over 13 percent of the beer consumed in America is independently-owned craft beer. As someone who covers craft beer and drinks almost exclusively craft, that number always feels low. And yet, every now and then, something shakes me back to reality: A couple years ago, I was at a wedding, drinking one of my favorite offerings from Jack's Abby, when a younger family member waltzed in with an 18-pack of Natural Light under his arm — and honestly, back when I was his age, I probably was doing the same thing.

So who exactly is downing the 13 percent of craft beer? As the site Brewbound reports, Nielsen recently delved into the answer with its Craft Beer Insights Poll — an online survey of 1,100 legal craft beer drinkers. The poll found that 43 percent of respondents overall drink craft beer at least occasionally, with younger people leaning towards craft even more: Over half of those under 44 years old considered themselves craft beer drinkers. But when it comes to people who drink craft beer more frequently — at least weekly — things skew slightly older toward men with a bit more disposable income. The most common weekly craft beer drinker was a 35- to 44-year-old male with an income from $75,000 to $99,000.

Of course, a lot has been made about male compared to female craft beer drinkers, and indeed, the results of this survey skewed male. Only 31 percent of women said they drink craft beer compared to 56 percent of men.

But though the idea of the average craft beer drinker may fit our clichés, another stereotype might be disappearing. Nielsen suggested that craft beer drinkers tend to be settling into their favorite brands instead of trying all sorts of new beers across the board. Though about 75 percent of craft beer drinkers surveyed still said they buy up to three different brands a month, the number who bought five or more brands per month has declined. "Drinkers today are less likely to experiment across brands, at least compared to five years ago," Nielsen's Danelle Kosmal was quoted as saying. "To me, this says that your brand recognition and equity that you have built or are building with your core drinkers is becoming increasingly more important."

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