Craft Beer Industry Trends for 2023

Since 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has required the craft beer industry to get creative. Many businesses invested in canning operations and looked for other venues to sell.

Yet as restrictions continue to loosen and people feel more relaxed in public settings, patrons have returned to taprooms. The gradual wave of closures is also expected to be replaced by more breweries opening for business. In fact, the craft beer market is positioned for steady growth through 2028.

Despite this turnaround, the spirit of innovation and creativity has not died down among craft breweries. Instead, expect the following trends in 2023.

Variety in Beverage Types

The hard seltzer craze might be considered “over” but craft breweries continue to highlight:

  • Sours: These tarter, fruit-flavored beers have seen their popularity grow faster than other varieties. The demand comes from interested wine and cocktail drinkers, who ordinarily would stay away from traditional beers.
  • Hazy Beers: These are being marketed as an introduction to craft beer for a smoother, less bitter and somewhat juicy taste.
  • Wine-Beer Hybrids: Also called rosé beer, these sweeter, pink-toned beers add grapes to the fermentation process.
  • Lagers and IPAs: While lagers never went away, the craft beer industry has spent the past five years debating whether they are legitimate choices. Although they’ve stuck around as a niche product for certain beer afficionados, the demand behind hazy beer has also renewed interest in both lagers and IPAs.
  • CBD and Cannabis Infusions: As more states legalize recreational marijuana, beers brewed with oils from the hemp plant have become a niche product. The result tends to taste similar to traditional beer but offers a stronger effect.
  • Healthier Beers: Light beers have seen a surge among people looking to lose weight. Yet healthy beers have also diversified, with low-alcohol and gluten-free options.
  • Dessert Beers: The last time you went to brunch, you may have seen milkshakes and other dessert-style drinks made with some form of a mild beer.
  • Non-Alcoholic: These solutions have the same taste with no alcohol content. Through higher quality and greater diversity, this market segment has grown about 40 percent over the past year.

New Formulas

Along with various infusions and updates, breweries have started playing around with their formulas. An increase in U.S. grown hops grown has correlated with more “fresh” beers.

Along with these developments, focus has started shifting from the intense, hop-heavy flavors of the past decade to barley. Casual beer drinkers and connoisseurs are now gravitating toward lighter, mellower flavors and lagers.

Taprooms Are Back

Indoor dining restrictions greatly limited how breweries could attract and interact with consumers. Yet as restaurants now see increased foot traffic, a similar surge has come to taprooms. For most of 2022, on-site and taproom sales surpassed retail sales.

The taproom environment has also started evolving. Patrons treat them like neighborhood bars and more curious, new-to-craft-beer drinkers expect tastings similar to a wine bar. In turn, offerings span multiple beverage types and are often made in small-batch quantities.

Day Drinking

Individuals with the freedom to work from home may opt to stop at their local taproom or pick up their favorite, possibly non or low-alcoholic craft beer. As a result, breweries are encouraged to adopt hours to accommodate this shift, rather than seeing themselves as evening and nighttime-only entities.

As you diversify your products and anticipate larger crowds, make sure your craft brewery has sufficient insurance coverage. To review your policies and limits, contact your HUB/Ion Insurance agent today.