Study Finds Craft Beer Key to Restaurant Success

A good craft beer selection has become a key ingredient to restaurant success, a new survey has shown.

Food industry consulting firm Technomic released a study today showing that craft beer selection alone is enough to draw 49 percent of consumers to a restaurant. Additionally, more than half of those surveyed agreed a wide variety of craft beer is an important factor in getting them through the door of any licensed establishment, whether it’s a casual dining stop or a high-end craft beer bar.

In surveying a nationally representative sample of 500 adults who bought beer away from home in the past 30 days, Technomic also found that those high-end beer bars only rank third as a destination for consumers who are purchasing craft brews, behind casual dining restaurants and regular bars.

The research is part of a preliminary effort leading up to a much broader study, entitled On-premise Craft Beer & Cider: Opportunities, Challenges and Innovations, which will utilize input from 3,000 adults, according to Donna Hood Crecca, senior director of Technomic’s Adult Beverage resource Group.

The study, among other things, will seek to clarify the size of the on-premise craft and cider markets, identify consumer preferences and spot trends.

“We project craft beer in on-premise settings will continue posting double-digit gains,” said Eric Schmidt, Director of Research at Technomic in a press statement. “But the rate of product proliferation, advent of myriad styles and fuzzy definition of ‘craft’ presents challenges to both consumers and operators.”

The full press release is below:

CHICAGO, IL– The dynamics of beer sales in restaurants and bars are evolving rapidly, and craft beer is a critical factor in driving the trends. More than half of consumers (56 percent) agree that it is important for a restaurant or bar to offer a wide variety of craft beers, and half (49 percent) say they will go to a particular establishment because of its craft beer selection, according to a recent Technomic survey.

Craft beer has grown significantly in both the number of products and overall volume, and restaurant and bars are particularly important to its ongoing expansion. “We project craft beer in on-premise settings will continue posting double-digit gains,” says Eric Schmidt, Director of Research at Technomic. “But the rate of product proliferation, advent of myriad styles and fuzzy definition of ‘craft’ presents challenges to both consumers and operators.”

Hard cider is another fast-growing category. “Cider’s growth is tremendous ─ volume at retail and in restaurants rose 78 percent overall in 2012 and continues to grow in 2013. The opportunity for cider in restaurants and bars will be influenced by numerous factors going forward,” observes Schmidt.

To quantify and clarify the craft beer and cider opportunity in restaurants and bars, Technomic is planning a major research program entitled On-Premise Craft Beer & Cider: Opportunities, Challenges and Innovations. Primary research will involve market analysis to identify leading brands and develop growth projections, as well as an extensive consumer survey to reveal craft beer and cider purchasing behaviors, influencers and preferences. In addition, a deep dive into the operator mindset will explore beverage professionals’ challenges and needs regarding craft beer and cider. The study is open to multiple sponsors, who will have the unique opportunity to shape its parameters and content.

Findings from a preliminary consumer survey on craft beer purchases revealed:                                               

  • Half of consumers (51 percent) ordered a favorite type of craft beer, indicating loyalty. One-fifth (22 percent) tried a new craft beer.
  • Casual-dining restaurants (27 percent) and bars (20 percent) are the top two locations where consumers purchased craft beer on their most recent occasion; beer bars ranked third (12 percent).
  • Flavor is the most important attribute of a craft beer (86 percent).
  • Food is important to half of consumers ordering craft beer (54 percent) and is particularly important to Millennials (65 percent).

The On-Premise Craft Beer & Cider: Opportunities, Challenges and Innovations study will further investigate these and other issues surrounding craft beer and also cider in restaurants and bars. For information on the study and available sponsorships contact Patrick Noone, 312-506-3852.

Technomic’s expertise in adult beverage is developed through its ongoing analysis of the spirits, wine and beer markets, including the on-premise channel. To purchase or learn more about Technomic’s Trends in Adult Beverage series, including BeerTAB, WineTAB and SpiritsTAB, or the online DRINK database as well as other industry reports and services for adult beverage suppliers, please visit Technomic or contact one of the individuals listed below.

About Technomic

Technomic provides clients with the facts, insights and consulting support they need to enhance their business strategies, decisions and results. Its services include numerous publications and digital products, as well as proprietary studies and ongoing research on all aspects of the food industry.

  • William Powers

    The two most important things to me for a restaurant. Where they get their food and where they get their brew. Places that value where and how their food is produced, also value where and how their beers were made. Local foods, local brews