Craft Beer: An America First that Can Be Shared with the Rest of the World (Craft Beer Week) | Rabobank

Craft Beer: An America First that Can Be Shared with the Rest of the World (Craft Beer Week)

May 8, 2018

The craft beer scene in the US, which started to make a comeback in the 1980’s and gathered pace over the past decade, has lately been the bright spot of the beer industry. The number of US breweries, which had fallen to a mere 89 by 1978, has recovered and recently reached an all-time high of more than 6,300. Inevitably, after such a strong growth spurt, saturation is setting in and growth rates in the US have come down substantially. What is encouraging though, is that the craft trend has spread far beyond US borders. Craft beer is today already very popular in Western Europe, but also in emerging Asian, African and Latin American markets, the product is getting traction. In fact, if we extrapolate the latest GlobalData figures on craft beer, consumption outside the US borders could overtake US volumes in about five years’ time.

Source: GlobalData, Rabobank analysis, 2018

Internationalisation is supported by both demand and supply factors. Consumers across the world, connected by social media, have become aware that the flavour of beer today is so much more than just lager. The inquisitive millennial is also very interested in the production process and likes the stories that craft beer has to tell. At the same time, the supply side abroad is helped by a well-developed value chain. Leading US craft beers can be exported, using existing distribution channels, and US developed concepts like contract brewing and mobile canning are taking away barriers of entry for local start-ups.

Coinciding with the American Craft Beer Week, the RaboResearch Beverages Team will look the coming days at the craft beer industry in Asia, consolidation in the US craft landscape, the value chain of craft beer in Europe and Craft 2.0: further segmentation and innovation of the US craft beer market.

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