As Crain’s Chicago Business reports today, Craft Beer brewers are exploring lower alcohol percentages in their beers, closer to what the mass-market premium beers have for alcohol content. Here’s 5 Reasons that’s a great idea (first 2 from the article and 3 from me).
(1) MORE SALES: First, drinkers may be more likely to buy more beer if it’s lower in alcohol.
(2) LOWER BREWING COST: Second, session beer is inexpensive to produce, because big beers require more grain and yeast. Session beers can cut ingredient costs by half compared with a double-strength IPA.
(3) BETTER FOR BAR VIBE: Professionally run bars prefer customers drink regular alcohol “sessionable” beers (5.5 or less) rather than higher alcohol brews not just due to higher sales but also a better social experience that comes from x amount of alcohol consumed over a longer time period rather than x amount drank fast. This is not so much about the level of drunken patrons (you can get drunk on either type of beer) but that gradual drinking encourages sociability, groups, mixed sex groups and collateral purchases such as food and gaming.
(4) MORE DESIRABLE CUSTOMERS: Most customers will never have a taste for heavy craft beers, regardless of trendiness. New regular alcohol level (“lighter” crafts) give the bar a way to market something different that still have wide appeal, including women who are a minority of current craft drinkers.
(5) LOWER PRODUCT COST FOR BARS: Wholesale cost for premium mass market and even small brewery lower alcohol beers is lower to the bar than higher alcohol crafts. The new lower alcohol crafts I’d anticipate to come in at lower cost per keg/case corresponding to their lower production costs and what I believe will be a push to compete toe to toe with majors.
Thanks to Crain’s Chicago business for the report – read it here.
MORE INFO HERE ADDED 8/15/14