Beer and cider preferences are often tied to tradition and familiarity, but recent market developments suggest consumers are inspired to step away from what they know.
Beer and Cider Landscape
Beer shows greater market penetration than cider in the US alcoholic beverage category, yet both values lie below global rates. When asked which of these beverages they had purchased the past year, nearly a quarter of consumers claimed they had purchased beer, while only 7% of consumers claimed to have bought cider.
Beer and Cider Consumer Insights
Beer trends reveal that US consumers’ top reason to drink beer is to relax and wind down, while for cider consumers, it is to be sociable. More US beer drinkers also claimed they reduced their overall consumption in the past year and drank it less frequently. They attributed this decrease to budget constraints and changing their lifestyle, which concurs with the cost-of-living crisis and consumers’ increased focus on improving their health and wellness. In contrast, cider trends show that US consumers drank more cider and drank it more frequently. Each group also had its purchase drivers, with beer drinkers seeking out hand-crafted products made with real ingredients and cider drinkers caring most about local sourcing.
USA Beer Market Leads Launches
Innovation remains strong in the US beer market, with product launches growing at a +7% CAGR between 2018 and 2022. This growth was on pace with total alcoholic beverages, resulting in a steady 43% share of total alcoholic beverage launches. North America led beer trends and launches, with 24% of total beer launches appearing in the US and 14% in Canada.
Beer Launch Trends
Beer trends by beer type show India Pale Ale (IPA) emerged as the beer trends leader in launches, growing fastest at +20% CAGR after sour beers at +43% in the same time frame. Brazil and Canada led IPA growth, while sour beer launches rose most in West Europe and the US. High and alcohol-free beers, along with flavored beers, were also growth drivers.
Cider Launch Trends
Cider launches grew at a +10% CAGR, slightly higher than the growth witnessed in the total alcoholic beverage market. Despite cider trends and growth rates, its share of total beverage launches remained at 4% through 2023 year to date. Cider trends and launches stood out this year, with one-third of cider launches being gluten-free and 22% vegan.
Beer and Cider Macro Trends
The US beer and cider market is impacted by several macro trends and Innova’s Top 10 Trends. Macro trends influencing beer trends and cider trends include consumers that lean into healthier living – a top trend that recognizes consumers’ need to feel well through improved lifestyle changes, including following a healthy, nutritious diet – and simple pleasures, a top trend that identifies consumers’ drive to reward themselves through everyday moments of happiness. Healthier living has several possible impacts on the beer and cider trends market. As health consciousness rises, more consumers, especially younger generations, embrace alcohol-free options because they are perceived as healthier and let them socialize guilt-free. Contrarily, simple pleasures can appeal to consumers who turn to beer and cider when they want to relax and de-stress, thus promoting emotional well-being.
Beer and Cider Market Facing New Demands
Redefining Value – a top ten trend that navigates combating feelings of instability, which requires a deep understanding of where consumers draw the line on compromise – shows that as premiumization has raised prices, many consumers have kept pace with premium beer and cider. Still, as consumers become more budget-minded due to inflation, they turn to less costly options. Generational Push – defines how positive engagement and new experiences find favor with younger consumers used to sharing their views widely and willingly – shows that younger consumers turned to flavored alcoholic beverages and alcohol-free drinks, which sparked innovation in flavored and non-alcoholic beers.
Unpuzzle Health – demonstrates how simple communication backed by trusted certification reinforces health messages, especially when matched by consumer experience – shows that breweries and cideries are investing in low and alcohol-free variations in response to the growing alcohol-free market and consumers’ interest in these options.
Beer types: Flavor will expand into botanical and contrasting flavors such as fruity and spicy, often with locally sourced fruits. Craft breweries and major brewers’ Beyond Beer initiatives will lead innovation with fresh ideas such as sparkling hop water.
Packaging: The importance of ethics in packaging and the environment will rise as government regulations, pressure from younger generations, and internal initiatives move closer to a circular economy. Ethical packaging alternatives will also emerge.
Positioning claims: Rising consumer concern about health and wellness will foster claims such as no additives and preservatives, vegan, and gluten-free to communicate better-for-you profiles to beer and cider drinkers.
This article is based on our report, “Trends On Tap in US Beer & Cider.”
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