Craft Beer Drinkers are Interested in Healthy Habits and Alcohol Abstinence, Nielsen Survey Finds


A growing number of craft beer drinkers would describe themselves as being “health-conscious” and are interested in striking a balance between regular alcohol consumption and routine exercise, according to a new survey jointly developed by Nielsen, The Harris Poll and Brewbound.

Looking into the lifestyle aims of the craft beer drinker, Nielsen determined that overall, craft beer drinkers are more likely than other drinkers to be interested in exercise, watching their weight and food consumption, and to consider alcohol an occasional treat. And those traits correlate even more heavily within the millennial generation, who are both more likely to be craft beer drinkers and to practice healthy habits, according to the Harris Poll.

Presenting to more than 200 beer industry professional who attended yesterday’s Brewbound Session in Brooklyn, Danelle Kosmal, the vice president of Nielsen’s beverage alcohol practice, said that a “significant” portion of millennial craft beer drinkers maintain their health by taking time off from drinking or drinking less alcohol overall.

According to the study — which surveyed nearly 1,400 respondents who drink alcoholic beverages several times per month — 60 percent of millennial craft beer drinkers (those who consume at least one beer per month) said they only drink alcohol on the weekends, while 44 percent of millennial craft drinkers said they take time off from drinking entirely in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

But while craft consumers might be more interested in health, that doesn’t mean that craft beer is the tipple of choice for all health-conscious drinkers: in fact, the healthiest group of drinkers said they’re more likely to consumer wine or spirits, not beer, according to a separate study conducted by Nielsen at the end of 2015.

So how can brewers capitalize on the 80 percent of health-conscious millennial drinkers who view alcohol as a “special treat,” the 57 percent of craft beer drinkers who exercise several times per week or the 47 percent of monthly craft beer consumer who only drink on the weekends?

By focusing on Saturday and Sunday exercise programs, Kosmal said, noting that 73 percent of drinkers between the ages of 21 and 34 would be more likely to participate in brewery-sponsored wellness initiatives.

Knowing that more craft drinker are cognizant of their overall health and pay closer attention to when and how to consume alcohol, it’s not surprising, then, that most are also interested in nutritional transparency, Kosmal said.

That transparency applies to caloric and nutritional labeling – something that many of those core consumers seem to want. Labeling contributes to the idea of nutritional transparency and correlates with an increasing urge to buy food or drinks “from producers they trust” – something that more than half of consumers are interested in, according to Kosmal’s polling.

65 percent of consumers already read labels on packaging and would “favor” having nutrition labels on alcohol products. 47 percent of drinkers, meanwhile, said that nutritional labeling would impact their choice on alcohol products.

Noting that consumers themselves already share that information amongst each other, and that liquor giant Diageo has itself begun moving to voluntarily provide nutritional information on its packaging, the movement to further satisfy those consumer demands might also make sense for craft brewers, she said.

“Why are we talking about this? Well the conversation already started,” Kosmal said.

Below are a few key takeaways from Kosmal’s presentation. Additional coverage of the Brewbound Session, including video from the event, well be published in the coming days.