There’s a reoccurring conversation I’ve had in recent months, talking with with others about why people make the decision to drink craft beer.
The answers are plenty – taste, community, etc. – but one that typically doesn’t get a deep dive is a reflection on why “craft” matters both as a designation for the beer and the way people feel about it. Ever since the Great Recession, American consumers have reevaluated how they spend their money and on what, especially in terms of food and related goods.
First, people started caring more about where their food was coming from and how it was treated, which you can see from the dramatic rise of U.S. farmers markets over the last 20 years.
That went hand-in-hand with changing attitudes about quality of foods. In the wake of the Great Recession, American households cut down spending on eating out, prepared more meals in-home and decreased daily calories, especially in terms of fat, saturated fat and cholesterol.
So what does this have to do with beer? Even when money was tighter during the recession, craft beer still thrived. People felt a greater connection to a product that not only tasted different, but were OK with spending more on the perceived quality that came along with it. Beyond their wallets, drinkers also began giving greater consideration to what it meant when consuming craft beer in terms of ingredients and nutritional content.
Years after the recession ended, these attitudes continue to grow. People are paying more attention to what they put in their bodies and what that means for them in the immediate and long term. Naturally, now may be the time to start paying closer attention to how that plays out in terms of what our brains and waistlines want when it comes to beer.