drinktec 2017 preview

Brewers Association heads to drinktec to expose American craft beer to ‘whole new consumer’

Asia-Pacific has become the fastest-growing export market for American craft beer, according to BA EDP.  ©iStock/Sergey Peterman

The Brewers Association Export Development Program (BA EDP) has seen an "explosion" of interest in American craft beer coinciding with an increase in exports to international markets.

“American craft brewers are certainly looking to expand into international markets—more than 100 [breweries] now export,” Mark Snyder, manager at BA EDP, told BeverageDaily.

BA EDP will be showcasing a number of American craft beer brands at drinktec 2017 in Munich, Germany, Sept. 11 – Sept. 15, which will give American craft breweries “great exposure” to an international audience, the Brewers Association said.

The booth will also be shared with the Hop Growers of America which will hold a German IPA (India Pale Ale) contest with the winner announced at the Beer Tasting Seminar on Wednesday, September 13. Their booth will feature American hop and beer samples.

Brewers Association American Craft Beer Ambassador, Sylvia Kopp, and Brewers Association executive chef, Adam Dulye, will be representing the BA EDP at the tradeshow and Dulye will be hosting an American craft beer and food paired dinner.

Global interest in US craft beer

Since the EDP started in 2004, it has seen an "explosion" of interest in American craft beer overseas, according to Snyder.  

“What’s really interesting is how knowledgeable international consumers have become in such a short time,” he said.

There has also been increased interest for American hops, according to Hop Growers of America.

"We have seen a large demand for American hops and a shift in the European palate starting with a taste for hop-forward, American-style craft beer,” Hop Growers of America communications director, Jaki Brophy, said.

American brewers look to global markets

The demand for craft beer has shown steady but slower growth in the maturing US market, increasing volume production by 6% between 2015 and 2016, according to IRI, US market research company. Yet, such growth indicates a noticeable decline from 17.6% between 2012 and 2013.

However, exports to international markets where the craft beer industry is less mature, recorded double-digit growth to some regions last year, according to EDP data. Exports to Asia-Pacific grew by 12.9% with Japan alone increasing by 22.6% in 2016.

Canada remained the leading international market for American craft beer holding a 54.8% share of exports. Other leading importers include the UK, accounting for 10.1%; Sweden with 6.6%; Australia, 4.6%; and China, 3.2% of exports.

“At the same time, the number of small breweries producing quality beer is growing around the world and many of those are producing beers that are influenced by what they see going on in the US,” Snyder said.

“This is introducing a whole new consumer to craft beer.”

A rising number of American craft brewers are eyeing international markets for a variety of reasons, according to Snyder.

“Some brewers choose to export as they have a connection to certain countries (family history, enjoy traveling, etc.),” he said. “Others are looking to diversify their customer base and see important business opportunities internationally.”

BA EDP sees American craft beer exports continuing to increase for the foreseeable future.

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