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"Passion led us here" written on the floor, two pairs of shoes standing in front of it (Photo: Ian Schneider, Unsplash)
03 December 2020

Australia’s indie brewers benefit from shift in people’s drinking habits

Australia | 2020 may turn into craft brewing’s “lost year”, but Australian craft brewers remain upbeat. They think they are in a “largely strong” position, heading into the antipodean summer, while building on the trends that have emerged since the pandemic broke out.

The recent survey by the craft beer retailer Beer Cartel, in which 17,000 Australians took part, shows that there has been a shift in people’s buying habits, which has benefitted craft beer.

Prior to covid-19, 38 percent of drinkers had purchased beer online. Since the coronavirus crisis, this number has increased significantly, with 53 percent of respondents having purchased beer online since April this year.

Craft beer on your fingertips

Online purchasing has been driven by brewery websites and beer speciality websites. Brewery website purchasing has doubled from 14 percent in 2019 to 28 percent in 2020. Similarly, purchasing from craft beer speciality websites has increased from 19 percent in 2019 to 27 percent in 2020.

Moreover, consumers have shown strong support for the 600+ independent craft breweries throughout covid-19. Respondents said that they were purchasing less Australian and international mainstream beers, while local and Australian craft beer purchases increased. This coincides with increased awareness of the “Independent” seal (60 percent awareness) and 93 percent of respondents agreeing that “Australian breweries need our support more than ever”.

Craft beer’s market share on the rise

Still, covid-19 has impacted consumers very differently. While for some their weekly spend on beer has dropped, for a large number their spend has increased, as they began stocking up on beer at home, similar to other commodities.

Buoyed by these findings, the IBA is confident that craft beer consumption will not be a short-term fad, but a long-term trend. The IBA thinks that it will reach its objective of a 15 percent beer market share by 2025, up from an estimated 12 percent in 2020. In fact, it is wondering if that is too conservative a forecast.

Read more about "Australian breweries in 2020: keeping spirits high" and how "Australia’s Coopers breweries sees sales rise during lockdown".