How many craft beer drinkers actually like hoppy beer?

Graeme BruceBusiness Data Journalist
May 13, 2020, 4:44 PM UTC

For some, craft beer is synonymous with “hoppy” beer, but it’s far from the most popular style among Americans who drink small-batch brews.

According to a new YouGov survey of craft beer drinkers, 45 percent like hoppy beer — such as India Pale Ales (IPAs) or American Pale Ales (APAs) — compared to 24 percent who say they dislike it. The survey asked respondents about several beer attributes and “clean and crisp” was the clear winner with roughly three-quarters (76%) saying they like the style somewhat or a lot.

Craft beer drinkers also say they like “fruity” (52%), “dark” (50%), “malty” (46%) and “sweet” (46%) types of craft beers.

Roughly two in five (43%) of Americans drink craft beer at least occasionally, while roughly half (53%) say they never drink craft beer. The survey defines craft beer as “beer brewed in smaller quantities by independent brewers.”

The attributes that define a craft beer is the most important factor that people consider when it comes to choosing a beer. More than half say the type of beer matters most (54%), followed by, the brand/brewery (36% of respondents said that’s important), the price (34%), or recommendations and reviews (27%). Other factors craft beer drinkers consider include  alcohol percentage (24%), where it’s from (16%) and package design (10%).

Those figures change slightly depending on age group. For instance, Americans aged 21-34 are more likely (30%) to pay attention to alcohol percentage and design of the packaging (15%) compared to the general craft beer drinking population. Those aged 55 and over are more likely (20%) to say the beer’s region is an important factor. The results are interesting to compare to a similar survey YouGov conducted in late 2019 around wine consumption, which found price was by far the biggest factor for wine drinkers when purchasing a bottle of wine.

There’s been some debate on whether drinking beers out of a bottle or can tastes better, and the data shows that a plurality of America’s craft beer drinkers prefer their suds out of a small bottle (34%), compared to a small can (22%). Younger Americans between the ages of 21 and 34 are much more likely (24%) to prefer large cans compared to the general craft-beer drinking population.

Many of these craft beer drinkers prefer getting their ales at beer stores or liquor stores (37%) over a bar or pub (27%) or direct from the brewery (23%).

Meanwhile, according to a YouGov survey conducted in the first weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, 20 percent of US adults who drink said they had been drinking more than usual over the previous two weeks.

Methodology: Total sample size was 1205 adults over 21, 515 of whom were craft beer drinkers Fieldwork was undertaken between 11th - 12th May 2020.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all US adults over 21.

Image: Getty

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