The number of breweries operating in Great Britain is also up, with over 2,000 creating new brews on a regular basis, said Diageo global customer marketing director Conor Neiland at The Morning Advertiser’s Beer Summit in Manchester today (12 July).
“We’re in a golden age of beer at the moment,” he said. “As a category, it’s the best it’s been. Five years ago, that story would have been very different. Media was talking about reduced volumes.
“We’ve got to believe, as we go forward with beer, the same opportunity will exist into the future.”
Additional £318m of sales
An additional £318m of sales have been added to the beer category in the past three years through new products, said Neiland.
However, there is a bigger opportunity for operators and brewers within the category if they are able to break down consumer barriers around price, quality and choice.
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Some 6.8m consumers claim to be drinkers of craft beer, while 7.5m say they are interested in the category but don’t drink within it because they are overwhelmed by choice, find it too costly or don’t trust the quality, explained Neiland.
Consumers say they will spend £3.80 on a pint of craft beer, but in reality the average cost of a craft pint is in excess of £4.
Too much choice is also causing issues at the bar, with 20% of Brits saying they find the category confusing and are overwhelmed by what’s on offer.
“There’s a high likelihood that people will go back to what they know when they’re faced with this choice fatigue,” said Neiland.
“The quality of craft beer available is the number one factor influencing people’s decision when buying into craft, with one in six people saying they don’t trust the quality of craft.
“There’s an element of consumers not understanding and you have to remember that the average beer consumer isn’t a beer geek and their understanding of what is and isn’t good is different.”
However, if brewers and operators can break those barriers down, “there’s a potentially significant unlocked market out there worth £207m”, claimed Neiland.
The Beer Summit was brought to you by The Morning Advertiser in association with Diageo and law firm TLT.