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Beer enthusiasts broaden their repertoire during lockdown

Three months spent in lockdown has significantly shifted the way many are consuming beer, according to a new survey of 2,364 beer enthusiasts.


The study carried out by Brew//LDN and KAM Media, highlighted that, during lockdown, respondents have been drinking beer more frequently, sourcing beer from different channels, broadening their repertoire of beers and even embracing brand new online drinking occasions. Despite this, the actual number of beers being consumed has remained stable overall.


An impressive 46% of respondents bought beer direct from a brewer for the first-time during lockdown. 87% said they plan to continue post-lockdown signifying a potentially huge shift in the way purchase their beer with considerable impacts for both the off and on-trade.


Beer enthusiasts have also been pro-actively broadening their beer repertoire with 57% of respondents saying they are now more interested in searching out unique beers than they were pre-lockdown. 47% of respondents said they’ve been seeking out more premium options.


Katy Moses, MD of KAM Media comments: “Lockdown has provided beer enthusiasts with the opportunity to develop their ‘hobby’ further by exploring new, unique and interesting beers. Many have not only increased their repertoire of beers, but they’ve also been sourcing them from new and different channels, such as direct from the brewer and online subscriptions. This change will only lead to a more discerning and demanding beer consumer and could ultimately impact where they source their beers from in the longer term.”


Increased socialising online during lockdown has seen a brand-new drinking occasion emerge. An impressive 79% of respondents have consumed beer while ‘hanging out with friends online’ in the last three months. More than 1-in-2 expect to continue doing this even when lockdown measures ease, offering an interesting new beer drinking occasion for the industry.


Daniel Rowntree, co-founder of Brew//LDN comments; “A new breed of beer enthusiast is emerging from lockdown. The challenge for brands and breweries is to ensure that they remain relevant to the customer across all elements of this mix, from traditional occasions in the pubs and tap rooms, to ‘at-home’ occasions, ‘Zoom nights’ to drinks in the park and more.”


The study also showed that a much higher proportion of ‘beer enthusiasts’ are now drinking nearly daily; only 5% said they drank more than 6 days a week pre-lockdown, whereas this figure has now risen to 19%. But no need for a moral panic here- many are generally only drinking 1 or 2 beers a day.


At an average level, respondents have been drinking slightly more frequently – an extra 2 days a month – but consuming fewer beers per ‘session’ (-9%) meaning overall consumption has remained stable.


The study also found that there is significant support for local breweries with 79% of respondents suggesting they are much more interested in supporting them since lockdown began.


“We carried out the research because we had a strong suspicion that beer drinkers had changed up their habits during lockdown” comments Rowntree. “We wanted to work with KAM to ensure the beer industry had the right insights and knowledge to react. And we were really surprised by the extent to which beer enthusiasts – people who already really “know their beers” – have been switching things up. The impact on the beer industry, on retail and the on-trade as lockdown eases will be significant.”


To access the free report click here