What are the major beer trends for 2018?

By James Beeson

- Last updated on GMT

Changing tastes: pale ales and IPAs now make up 60% of EeBria’s sales
Changing tastes: pale ales and IPAs now make up 60% of EeBria’s sales

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Online craft beer distributor EeBriaTrade has outlined its top five predictions for the UK beer market in 2018.

The company collected data over a 12-month period and the predictions are based on the on-trade sales from its website www.eebriatrade.com​.

Based on sales of over 3,385 unique products from 400 different breweries, EeBriaTrade has highlighted which beers are on the rise and which styles are falling by the wayside as the market continues to adapt.

Pale ales and IPAs remain dominant throughout the market and now make up 60% of EeBriaTrade’s sales. However, beyond this, the company has outlined five major trends as the UK beer market continues to mature.

1) Higher ABV

More than 11% of EeBriaTrade's total craft beer sales are from beers with an ABV of 7% or higher. This is up from 5.3% last year, showing a growing appetite for stronger brews. Furthermore, across all styles the overall average ABV sold grew to 4.91% from 4.83%. With more and more venues beginning to offer one third and two third pint measures, publicans can now afford to buy in higher ABV beers and still retain a profitable margin.

2) Double IPA

Sales of double IPAs coincidentally have almost doubled from 4.3% to 7.3% in a 12-month period. Fuelled by the popularity of innovative craft brewers such as Cloudwater, Verdant and Northern Monk, consumers are continuing to look for hard-hitting, hoppy, juicy and chewy double IPAs.

3) Sour beer

It has been well documented that as the craft beer market grows, so does the popularity of more ‘challenging’ styles, and sour beer styles are at the forefront of this growth. EeBriaTrade has seen an increase in sour beer from 3.4% to 6.4% of total sales in the past 12 months, reflecting consumers’ growing demands for lip smacking goses and complex tart lambics.

4) Non traditional

Craft beer is famed for its innovation and modernisation. Brewers regularly push the boundaries and experiment with overseas styles. As a result, more traditional styles are currently falling by the wayside. Over the past year, golden, brown, red and amber ales as well as milds and bitters have seen their sales share drop by almost half (14.2% to 7.6%), reflecting consumers’ more experimental tastes.

5). Imperial stouts

Sales of darker beers are growing steadily across EeBriaTrade, but it is the strength (literally and metaphorically) of imperial stouts that is turning heads. The style has grown from 1.2% to 3.3% of the company's total sales in the past 12 months, showing that big, bold, dark beers are growing in popularity.

Speaking about the data, Eebria co-founder and CEO David Jackson said: “As EeBriaTrade is an online marketplace for craft beer we’re quickly capable of analysing our sales and in turn highlighting trends that we think might be helpful for retailers, publicans and pub companies across the country to be one step ahead of the market. And not only do we think it’s valuable for retailers it may be helpful for any the 400 breweries that we list themselves!”  

Last month, Jackson told The Morning Advertiser​ that the warehouse model employed by most beer distributors is “broken” and should be “done a completely different way”.

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