Craft Beer Survey: Large Brands Still Popular With Craft Beer Drinkers

Over the last few years, craft beer has grown from a tiny niche of the beer industry to a hugely popular trend. Officially defined as a beer made by a traditional brewing process by a small brewery that produces six million barrels of beer or less annually, craft beer now makes up nearly 13% of overall beer sales, according to Brewers Association data. And even beers that don’t fall into that official definition could benefit from the craft beer boom. So how many consumers enjoy craft beer? And could their perceptions about craft beer also have an impact on larger beer brands? We asked 1,000 respondents what brands and characteristics they associate with craft beer.

craft beer

Beer Drinkers

In Ask Your Target Market’s latest survey, 12% of respondents said that they have purchased or consumed beer within the past day. 15% have had beer within the past week. 10% have had it in the past month. 7% have within the past three months. 5% have within the past year. 11% said it’s been more than a year since they last enjoyed beer. And 42% said they aren’t beer consumers.

Budweiser and Bud Light were named the most popular beer brands, with 29% of beer drinkers saying they enjoy those beers regularly. 19% regularly drink Corona. 18% enjoy Coors. 17% like Miller or MGD. 16% drink Heineken regularly. 13% like Blue Moon. 12% like Sam Adams. 10% regularly enjoy Stella Artois. And 19% named other favorite beers, including Guinness, Labatt and Rolling Rock.

Craft Beer

In general, just 6% of beer consumers said they always choose craft beer when choosing which beers to enjoy. 16% choose craft beer most of the time. 17% do so about half the time. 19% said they rarely ever choose craft beer. 26% never do. And 6% were unsure. Those who have had beer within the past month were more likely to choose craft beer all or most of the time. As far as what that actually means, 29% of overall respondents think that craft beers are those that have interesting flavors. 26% think that craft beers must be made by small brewers. 25% think they must use quality brewing techniques. 24% think they have to be made by microbreweries. And another 24% think that the beer must be made in small batches.

Of the popular beer brands listed, including Budweiser, Corona, Coors, Miller, Sam Adams and others, 20% of beer drinkers said that none of them qualifies as craft beer. And 41% were unsure or had no opinion. 19% think that Sam Adams and Blue Moon qualify as craft beers. And 14% think that Stella Artois is a craft beer. But no more than 10% of respondents thought that any of the other popular beer brands listed qualified as craft beer. However, of those who choose craft beer at least half the time, 36% still said that they regularly enjoy Budweiser or Bud Light.

Beer Popularity

Overall, 49% of respondents agreed that craft beer has gotten at least somewhat more popular over the past five years. And that popularity likely isn’t slowing down much going forward. 44% of respondents think that craft beer is at least somewhat likely to continue gaining popularity over the next five years. Of those who choose craft beer for at least half of their beer purchases, 72% think that it has gotten more popular. And 75% think it’s likely to continue gaining popularity.

Key Takeaways

It certainly seems like the craft beer industry is on the rise, but that doesn’t mean that other beer brands are suffering. Even those who regularly choose craft beer still enjoy major brands like Budweiser. And though major brands don’t exactly qualify as craft beer, they could still potentially attract craft beer consumers with special flavors or small or seasonal batches. In fact, Sam Adams and Blue Moon, two larger brands that regularly release small batches of different flavored beers, were the only two brands that a significant amount of consumers seemed to think of as craft beer.

You can view the complete survey results in the widget below and be sure to click “Open Full Report” to take advantage of all the chart and filter options.

Photo Credit: Craft beer tent by Lars Plougmann under CC BY 2.0

What do you want to know? If you need some consumer insights on a particular topic, let us know in the comments below and we’ll consider it for an upcoming survey post.

Results were collected on July 23 via AYTM’s online survey panel.

Anne Pilon brings 3 years experience to AYTM as a blogger and journalist. She has a degree in journalism and marketing communications from Columbia College in Chicago and enjoys writing about business, marketing, social media, and art.