Pint-sized insights: 7 beer trends worth watching in 2022

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Posted May 04, 2022
Trevor Brown

Beer. It’s one of the oldest drinks in the history of the world. Some historians have even suggested that beer has been a vital driving force in the development of human civilization! Historians and archeologists have uncovered records of people drinking and making different beverage versions for thousands of years, going back to the stone age. 

A brief history of beer

Some of the earliest evidence of people making a fermented drink using grains goes back to an ancient Chinese village. We have discovered evidence that the villagers made, sold, and consumed a fermented beverage locally. For most of human history, beer was manufactured domestically and sold between members of local communities. Ancient evidence of its creation and consumption is found worldwide, including Europe and the Middle East. 

Did you know that many monasteries also acted as breweries in the Middle Ages, making and selling beer? Fast forward a couple of thousand years, and we come to the Industrial Revolution, which introduced industrial machinery to brewing. Suddenly, beer-making moved from being a local specialty to a mass-produced commodity. Soon, technology was developed that allowed the brewing process to be more precise and refined than ever before. Companies began shipping and selling beer all over the world. The beer industry was born. Though they were to run into various roadblocks and obstacles over the years (i.e., prohibition), the brewing industry continued to grow into what it has become today.  

The industry of today

Today, the beer industry is a massive global business with an estimated international market value of $623 billion. Research shows that there are now more than 19,000 beer companies in over 200 different countries worldwide. Among these are certain powerhouse brands like Anheuser-Busch InBev and Corona, with the latter possessing a brand value of $8.2 billion. 

The predictions for the industry are also favorable, showing stable growth that the pandemic has not shaken. The biggest market for this beverage is China, a country that consumes double the amount of the U.S. Although the market has remained strong, the supply-chain issues that have affected many industries have not left beer alone. That said, the Beer industry remains both strong and creative. Today, we’re going to be looking at 7 of the most important trends impacting this space. 

7 important trends

#1: Alternative beer flavors 

The last few years have seen a steady increase in demand among beer drinkers for alternative beer flavors, including sour beer. Sour beer is a unique but increasingly popular beer with a tart, fruity flavor. This beer is now being sold regularly in bars and taprooms everywhere and is performing extraordinarily well. 

Consumers love the variety they can get from all the different flavors that breweries continue to invent.  This kind of beer is also gaining attention from wine and cocktail drinkers because of its many fruity flavors. There really are no limits to the myriad of tastes and styles that sour beer can come in, and their emergence is one significant trend to watch. Some examples of these kinds of beers include: “Greetings From Holly Beach,” “Viewmaster,” and “Sippin’ Pretty.” 

#2: “Scientific” beer

This industry has always been innovative and flexible. With supply-chain issues impacting their ability to access high-quality raw ingredients, many breweries are turning to science to continue producing the great flavors their customers love at reasonable prices. 

Bioengineering is playing a more critical role as brewers begin to rely more on the products of science rather than those of nature. Several influential players have contributed to the scientific beer trend, with John I. Haas (one of the leading hops suppliers) releasing a unique liquid product. This is also connected to alternative beer flavors, as these creative new flavors are being produced through these synthesized ingredients. 

#3: The CBD connection

CBD oil has been a growing trend in many diverse industries, from clothing detergents to skin-care products. The oil helps you relax and comes from the cannabis plant, and it is entirely non-psychotropic. CBD has now come to the beer world, with several brewers beginning to or planning to launch CBD beers in the near future. One of the limits to this growth is that many states and localities currently ban the use and consumption of cannabis in any form, but that is beginning to change. Marijuana is now legal in 17 states (one of the latest being New York City, which legalized it in April of last year) and is growing. Many of the major breweries, including Anheuser-Busch InBev, are paying close attention to the possible impacts of CBD on the beer industry.

#4: Breweries launching their own taprooms

Beer is a high-competition business, and with the rise of alternative and low-alcohol beverages, it has become more difficult for brands to find space to stand out. Many breweries will be launching their own new locations to sell beer in response to this. Brewing companies all over the country have started this expansion, and the trend is expected to continue. With the pandemic beginning to fade into the background, breweries are making significant investments in their physical locations, working to create exciting and inviting destinations to bring in new customers. 

#5: Craft vs. macro | The brewery wars

There has always been competition between the major macro-breweries and the smaller craft breweries. Although craft breweries have, historically, possessed a smaller portion of the market share, many believe that these independent breweries have a good outlook for growth. Generally, craft beers have focused on innovation to create unique flavors and styles, while macro breweries have relied on the power of large-scale advertising and well-recognized, trusted brands. The innovation strategy has paid off among young people. This trend primarily comes down to demographics. Because craft breweries are more popular among younger generations of beer drinkers, and older drinkers are beginning to stop drinking, experts predict a considerable shift to craft beers in the near future. 

#6: The rise of domestic malt

This trend is yet another result of the wonky supply-chain problems that have been hitting the food and beverage industry particularly hard. Research shows that we can expect delays in shipments of essential malt in the future, thanks to these impacts. This leads many to look to domestic malt companies to meet the current need and build new relationships between brewers and maltsters. There are great expectations that these domestic companies will seize the coming opportunity. Already, breweries have already begun experimenting with American malt in an effort to circumvent the supply-chain issues. 

#7: More fresh ingredients

Although many breweries are turning to more synthesized ingredients, hop farmers are increasing their growing acreage in the U.S. at remarkable rates. This means that many breweries may have more access to fresh ingredients, creating more opportunities to create fresh hop beers. Creating these beers requires the brewery to be in close physical proximity to a hop farm. Customers who are lucky enough to taste these beers are finding them incredibly popular. 

Don’t settle for the dregs

To keep up with the latest trends, market research, and the next big thing, you need to partner with a company that keeps a finger on the pulse of consumer preference. aytm uses innovative practices to generate market research and create surveys that really get to the heart of what you need to know. Who buys your products, why do they buy them, and how do you reach more people who would do the same? aytm can help you find the answers when you Ask Your Target Market. Talk to us today to find out how!