Poll Findings Show “Independent/Independently Owned” Matters in Craft Beer Purchase Decisions

Does independence matter? You bet it does. A recent survey firmly illustrates this point.

Nielsen recently presented insights from a survey co-developed with Brewbound and conducted by Harris Poll. These insights were shared during last week’s Brewbound Session business conference in New York. The survey (conducted May 19-23, 2017) was aimed at understanding the familiarity around popular “buzzwords” used to market craft beer. A total of 2,000 people (adults 21+), including 773 self-identified regular* craft beer drinkers, were surveyed on 29 buzzwords**

independently ownedIn my view, the most intriguing news to share is that when asked, “How familiar are you with each of the following terms as they relate to beer,” 81% of craft beer appreciators indicated “independent” and “independently owned” as the most recognized. The second-most recognized buzzword was “traditional.”

When asked, “Thinking about the beer-related terms you are familiar with, if you heard or saw each term in connection with a particular beer, would you be more likely, less likely, or equally as likely to purchase the beer,” 23 of the 29 terms had a “net” positive— that is, “more likely” to purchase outweighed “less likely.”Craft Beer Independence

For more insight, we tapped Nielsen senior vice president of beverage alcohol practice Danny Brager, who presented these findings along with associate client manager Caitlyn Battaglia, for comments:

Within that survey, several more “generic” marketing terms that can span ANY category seemed to be very relevant to, and resonated with, the craft beer consumer. Some examples of those terms include: innovative, limited edition, drinkable.

In looking at the survey data, craft beer drinkers are certainly aware of the term independent/independently owned in relation to beer. Within the survey, this term had 81% familiarity among regular craft beer drinkers.

Furthermore, as reflected in the survey findings, survey respondents claimed that the term “independent/independently owned” was a very high “purchase influencer” for them.

Brager added respondents were asked:

  1. How familiar they were with each of 29 terms as they relate to beer, and;
  2. If they heard or saw that term in connection with a particular beer, would they be more likely, less likely, or equally as likely to purchase the beer.

With 99% of today’s 5,400+ U.S. breweries being independently owned, it is always encouraging to see surveys confirm that independence does matter.

*Regular meaning several times per month.
**The meaning of each of the 29 buzzwords was left up to the individuals responding.

Julia is craft beer program director at the Brewers Association and publisher of CraftBeer.com. She is a homebrewer, a BJCP beer judge, Certified Cicerone®, co-author of the CraftBeer.com Beer & Food Course and co-author of Beer Pairing (Voyageur Press). In her role at the BA she serves as an educator and as a spokesperson for the association.

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