The 2016 Craft Brewers’ Conference BrewExpo was hosted in the city of Philadelphia. With 13,600 attendees and 835 exhibitors, the city of brotherly love was an appropriate backdrop for this record setting conference and to put down a few pints from some great brewers, big and small, from Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey. The Craft Brewers’ Conference and BrewExpo is an exciting place to meet brewers and other industry players. Here are our five key takeaways from the conference:
- It is a great time to be an American craft brewer. Although 2015’s craft beer sales grew at a rate of 13%, a slight downtick in growth from the 18% in 2014, the craft beer industry still continues to grow to meet the demand created by shifting tastes.
- Quality is King in this industry. Craft beer drinkers want the best! With over 4,500 craft breweries in the US alone, if you can’t put out a quality product, you won’t be around for long.
- IPAs account for approximately 25% of craft beer sales, making them the most popular of all beer styles. The hottest growth style beers are Golden Ales, Pilsners and other seasonals.
- If you want to grow your brewing operation, consider partnering with another brewery with excess unused capacity. These partnerships are symbiotic – you increase your production and the brewery owner has less unused assets. Win win!
- It’s getting harder and harder to create a national brand. Find your niche, build your audience locally, and grow organically. Find your audience and give them a reason to listen to you! A personal tone goes over well with beer drinkers. Support your community by sponsoring local events. Align your brand with your audience, support your clients, you can expect loyalty in return. This loyalty pays dividends for years to come!
Our closing message for all of the American craft brewers out there is: keep up the good work! The state of the industry is strong and we are incredibly proud to be part of it.