Traditional beer styles under threat with no- and low-abv brews and cans on the rise

Jacopo Mazzeo

Jacopo Mazzeo

03 April 2019

Popular beer distribution platform EeBriaTrade has issued a report on the current craft beer market.

The report – which used data collected from EebriaTrade's 600-brewery strong portfolio and large nationwide client base – highlights a significant growth of the no- and low-abv category, which registered a staggering 381% sales increase compared to its market share only two years ago. EebriaTrade claims that today, almost 2.5% of all its craft beer sold sits below the 2.8% abv threshold.

When it comes to packaging, cans are now playing a key role, with an increasing number of craft breweries owning (or planning to implement) a canning line. Now, 72% of all packaged beer is in can, compared to a mere 16% in 2016, with the 44cl format proving the most popular. Remarkably, EebriaTrade’s research found that breweries that switched from bottles to cans experienced on average a threefold sales increase.

Another finding was that pale ales and IPAs are now the most popular styles within the craft sector; sour beers are growing slowly and darker styles such as stouts and porters appear overall stable, while heavier imperial stouts are experiencing a timid increase.

On the other hand, traditional British beer styles such as bitter, mild and golden ale are experiencing challenging times. Overall production dropped from 14% in 2016 to 5% in 2019 and the percentage of featured producers brewing these styles went down accordingly, from 44% in 2016 to 31% in 2019.

The distributor will be releasing a further report later in April, which will cover different elements of the craft beer market such as seasonality, locality, abv trends, new emerging styles and changes in breweries line-ups.

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