Revealed: what do drinkers think 'craft' means?

By Oli Gross

- Last updated on GMT

Revealed: what do drinkers think 'craft' means?

Related tags Alcoholic beverage

The majority of drinkers think it's important for the industry to define what 'craft' means, according to latest research, but what do they think the term means?

A survey by drinks analysts Mintel found that the craft industry continues to boom, with 38% of Brits buying a craft alcoholic drink brand in the three months to November 2015.

This boom is despite almost a third (30%) of drinkers saying they didn't understand what 'craft' meant.

And with 59% of drinkers calling for clarification on the term 'craft', it's worth noting what their own definitions are:

  • 47% said craft drinks must have a unique flavour
  • 42% demand high-quality ingredients
  • 41% say craft must take more time or care in production
  • 41% believe craft must be produced in small volumes
  • 35% say brands cannot be 'craft' if they are acquired by large companies
  • 28% agree that brands cannot be 'craft' if they get too large


Chris Wisson, senior drinks analyst at Mintel, said: "The lack of an industry-agreed definition has not hindered the growth of craft so far, but it has led to the term being misinterpreted and increasingly, misused.

"Consumers are likely to become increasingly demanding of brands that claim to be 'craft', and the onus is on these brands to ensure that they can provide clear evidence of their craft credentials."

A third (33%) of Brits who buy alcoholic drinks say it is hard to tell which brands are 'craft', according to research.

Wisson continued: "The uncertainty around the term dilutes its ability to differentiate brands or justify a higher price. This suggests the need to reference other, more tangible points of difference to capture customers' attention."

Small businesses

Many Brits are keen to support the little guys, as more than half (54%) of drinkers say buying craft alcoholic drinks is a good way to support small businesses.

And while there is strong interest in craft alcoholic drinks, Mintel research finds that excessive high pricing may hinder the growth of the sector in the future.

Two in five (41%) Brits who buy alcoholic drinks say that you often get less for your money with craft alcoholic drinks. For example, smaller bottles for the same price, while only 28% say that craft drinks are worth paying more for.

Price of a pint

Just one in four (24%) beer buyers are willing to spend more than £4 on a pint of craft beer in the on-trade and 21% are unprepared to even go above £3 per pint.

But a small number of consumers clearly have strong beliefs in craft credentials because 5% of beer buyers are prepared to exceed £5 on a pint of craft beer.

Wisson continued: "Many craft beers are justifiably more expensive than mainstream brands, reflecting economies of scale but also the ingredients used."

Barrier for growth

He added: "While consumer interest in seeing a wider variety of beers in the on-trade should benefit craft variants, overpricing poses a potential barrier to the continued growth of the segment."

Many craft drinkers are committed to the sector, as one in four (26%) drinkers say they go to craft drinks events and festivals, while 23% say they prefer buying craft drinks to mainstream drinks, rising to 34% of men aged 25-34.

Mintel research shows that the most likely craft buyers are men, with 46% of men buying a craft brand in the three months to November 2015.


For the majority of drinkers, it seems it is more about what is in the glass rather than who makes it. Approaching three quarters (70%) of Brits who buy alcoholic drinks say that taste is more important than the producer of the drink.

"The importance attached to taste is likely to be driving the interest in craft-style products from larger drink producers.

"This suggests that the large drinks companies can tap into the craft movement either by producing their own craft products or by acquiring smaller companies, with their success ultimately likely to be determined by the actual quality of the drinks," Wisson concluded.

Related topics Beer

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