U.S. Craft Beer Exports See Growth in 2021
Despite the lingering COVID-19 shutdowns continuing to affect on- and off-premise channels around the world, American craft beer exports saw growth last year. In 2021, American craft brewers exported 273,336 barrels valued at $71 million. This represents a 7% increase compared with 2020. Canada and the United Kingdom remained the top two individual markets for American craft beer exports, representing 21% and 8% of all exports respectively. These were followed by Japan (6.3%), Sweden (5.8%), and the Netherlands (4.9%). Despite the challenging export environment, American craft beer shipments increased to several markets, including the Caribbean, Brazil, Taiwan, Spain, Italy, Scandinavia, and China, among others. Clearly, there is still a thirst among beer drinkers around the world for American craft beer.
Thanks to all the brewers that participated in the annual export survey. Your responses are critical to our understanding of the successes, trends, and developments that will guide future Export Development Program (EDP) programming.
Chile Reforms Import Process for U.S. Beer
On February 22, 2022, the Chilean Ministry of Agriculture’s Livestock and Agricultural Service modified the testing requirement for U.S. beer shipments to Chile. Beer from the United States will no longer need to be tested upon arrival. Prior to February 21, 2022, Chile required testing of all imports of alcoholic beverages, except wine, from the U.S. Every product line of each brand required testing every two years to allow for commercial sale, a process that increased costs, added time to market, and hindered importer ability to add new beers to their portfolio. European beers did not face the same requirement. Removal of this testing requirement marks the culmination of five years of a collaborative effort between the Brewers Association (BA), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service, Chilean importers, and other stakeholders.
American Craft Beer Featured in Pairing Seminar in Taiwan
BA Global Beer Ambassador Adam Dulye delivered a virtual beer and food pairing seminar to 20 sommeliers in Taiwan in March. Organized by the American Institute in Taiwan, Adam was asked to discuss how to approach and evaluate beer with food, as well as incorporate craft beer into existing on-premise wine programs. The content was based on a recently translated version of the CraftBeer.com Beer & Food Course. Local importers supplied EDP member beers for use in the guided pairing seminar.
Planète Bière and American Craft Brewers Return to Paris
In March, the EDP traveled to Paris with a delegation of brewery representatives to represent American craft beer at Planète Bière—a leading consumer and trade gathering for craft beer in France. This was the EDP’s sixth year of participating in Planète Bière, with a scaled-up slate of market development activities that included:
- A centrally located and upgraded American craft beer booth, showcasing 22 EDP member breweries, which also served as a meeting space to connect with importers and media.
- French and English guided tasting sessions at both industry and consumer sessions, pairing EDP member beers to French cheeses.
- Traveling brewers participated in a walking tour of Paris craft beer retail accounts, and brewed collaboration beers with five Parisian craft brewers. Including brewery collaborations as part of the festival participation demonstrates that the EDP is committed to fostering the same collaborative creativity in France that has long been a cornerstone of American craft beer culture.
- Meet and greet events at craft beer bars around Paris. Agricultural Counselor David Leishman spent multiple nights visiting with the team during these events to discuss future marketing opportunities for American craft beer in France.
The American craft beer booth was easily the busiest booth at the sold-out festival, demonstrating first-hand how the interest in American craft beer remains vibrant in France. All activity was supported by social media content on the @MaBiereAmericane Facebook and Instagram pages, as well as updated brewery listings on www.DiscoverUSABeer.com.
U.S. Craft Beer Shines at Korea International Beer Expo
In late March, the EDP sponsored an American craft beer pavilion at Korea International Beer Expo (KIBEX) in partnership with USDA’s Agricultural Trade Office (ATO) in Seoul. KIBEX has become a core activity within the EDP’s annual schedule and represents a longstanding partnership between the Brewers Association and USDA offices to promote American craft beer in the region. The Great American Craft Beer Showcase served as a valuable platform for Korean importers to present American craft beers currently in their portfolio to visiting buyers and Korean beer industry trade.
Korea has proven to be a good market for American craft beer and growth is anticipated. Unfortunately, EDP officials were unable to travel to the event this year due to pandemic travel restrictions. Fortunately, ATO officials and local importers looked after our interests, representing the 22 brands shipped over. The booth was visited by Christopher Del Corso, acting head of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, on the first day of the show. Overall attendance at KIBEX was down from past years due to the pandemic, but interest in the American booth remained strong. ATO officials and participating importers that poured at the booth, reported that the EDP booth was again the most popular at the show.
Europe Ambassador Presents American Craft Beer at a Marathon of Spring UK Events
Earlier in the year, Lotte Peplow, American craft beer Ambassador for Europe, conducted a series of sold-out American craft beer tastings in the United Kingdom (UK) to industry and consumer audiences.
The Society of Independent Brewers Association’s BeerX is the UK’s annual two-day industry conference, which took place in Liverpool on March 16-17. Lotte presented a range of seven EDP member beers with four brewers and brewery representatives joining live via video feed to present their beers and answer questions. The tasting was attended by a 70-strong engaged audience of brewers, pub operators, bar managers, retailers, distributors, and media.
Later that month, the Ideal Home Show, a long-running consumer lifestyle show, took place at Olympia London. Over two weeks, approximately 220,000 annual visitors attended the show. Lotte conducted four tastings on the Eat & Drink Festival stage to packed audiences of on average 50 consumers every time. Six breweries were featured, and ten different beers were sampled in total.
In May, the ever-popular BrewLDN beer festival closed out Lotte’s spring promotions. Lotte presented six EDP member beers to a beer-loving audience of 50+ people with brewers and brewery representatives joining on Zoom and one in person.
Lotte says, “It was a humbling experience to see the enthusiasm for American craft beer from both the UK brewing industry and the consumer. It proves that demand for American craft beer is very much alive and kicking in the UK, and demonstrates that tastings are a proven way to stimulate such interest. Many thanks to the EDP brewers and representatives who joined online or in person.”
EDP members interested in the UK market are encouraged to participate in the London Craft Beer Festival & Brewer Mission taking place in August (note June registration deadlines).
China Decree Update
Implementation of China’s Decree 248 has gone into full effect. The decree requires facilities that manufacture or store products exported to China to register with Chinese authorities (GACC) via China’s Single Window portal. Following registration, products must be labeled with a registration number on the outer packaging. This labeling can occur in-country by a brewery’s importer. The EDP team has confirmed that this regulatory change applies to sample shipments as well as commercial exports. Any brewery wanting to participate in future EDP activities in China will need to register with GACC. While the USDA has released guidance with screenshots covering how to complete the online self-registration process, please note that the URL provided within the USDA GAIN report can result in issues while registering. Please use the following address to access the Single Window Portal: cifer.singlewindow.cn following creation of your profile. Breweries encountering any challenges with this process are encouraged to contact EDP manager Steve Parr for assistance.
Bob Pease to Attend Brewers of Europe Forum and 38th EBC
BA President & CEO Bob Pease was invited to attend the Brewers Forum and 38th European Brewers Convention (EBC) in Madrid, Spain later this Spring. Joined by American craft beer Ambassador to Europe Lotte Peplow, this is an opportunity to advance the interests of American craft beer in the growing Spanish craft beer market. Fellow attendees and speakers include leading importers, competition organizers, media, and other EDP program partners and targets. A market visit will also provide intelligence to the EDP about the presence and potential of American craft beer in Spain. The EDP has previously participated in a beer festival in Spain but has not been active in that market for many years. Despite this, the market may offer good potential following growth in exports in 2021, and boasting a consumer base well educated in artisanal food and wine and a growing appreciation for beer.
EDP Activity Planned for First Time at SAVOR™
SAVOR: An American Craft Beer & Food Experience is a signature BA event that historically has targeted a domestic trade, media, and consumer audience. This year, for the first time, the EDP will link its own activity to SAVOR to benefit from the event’s high profile and media draw. The program will be inviting and hosting international media to attend the event and experience the world-class pairings and beer that will be presented by American craft brewers. The goal is to secure favorable coverage for American craft beer and individual exporting breweries in publications that circulate in Europe, Asia, and other target markets.
Market Research Studies
EDP market research projects in the Dominican Republic, Greater Caribbean, and Eastern European countries of Slovenia, Croatia, and Poland have wrapped up. Summaries of each market report focusing on importer potential and local infrastructure will be made available to members via the EDP Member Resources area. All importer contact information will be added to the importer directory.
2022 Craft Brewers Conference® Welcomes the Return of International Brewers and Trade
The Craft Brewers Conference (CBC) has become a gathering place for beer industry members the world over, and the 2022 event in Minneapolis proved no different. The EDP team utilized CBC as a productive forum to re-engage with international guests from Europe, Asia, Mexico, and South America who traveled to the show. In addition to meeting with members and buyers, the EDP organized a series of export-oriented seminars designed to educate American craft brewers on foreign market opportunities for their beers. Seminars included:
- How American Craft Beer Travels the World – Tom Maneschijn, Vice President for Europe at Next Glass and Untappd
- Exporting Beer to Italy – Sandro Vecchiato & Luca Corte Rappis, Interbrau
- Exporting Beer to France – Philippe Jugé, Amuse-Bouche
- Selling Craft Beer in Latin America – Chema Mora, Cicerone Certification Program
For anyone that missed it, export-focused seminars will be made available to members on the Brewers Association website in the coming months.
Calendar of Activities
The EDP continues to raise awareness internationally and build export marketing opportunities for American craft brewers. Members are encouraged to regularly check the online activity calendar or the EDP member resources page to stay on top of planned marketing activities and opportunities to present your beers internationally. The following represent confirmed forthcoming opportunities:
- Australian International Beer Awards – Winners announced May 26
- Craft Beer China Conference & Exhibition – July 27-28
- European Beer Star – June 24 registration close
- London Craft Beer Festival & US Brewer Mission – June 28 registration close
- Japan International Beer Cup – October, Registration details TBA
- Brussels Beer Challenge – October, Registration details TBA
- Drinktec – September, Registration details TBA
- Stockholm Beer & Whisky Festival – September-October, Registration details TBA
- Cerveza México – October, Registration details TBA
- Japan American Craft Beer Experience – Fall promotion, Registration details TBA