Current Trends

3 Keys to attracting Gen Z to the taproom

What Are The Gen Z Drinking


It’s no doubt that 2023 was a tough year for Craft Beer sales. The decline in beer sales has been well documented, as evolving consumer tastes merge with an abundant array of new alcohol beverages choices now flooding the market. Craft brewers have also been impacted by the rising costs in doing business, supply chain issues and a consumer shift to sweeter beverages. Younger generations, such as ‘Gen Z’, foregoing beer for ready-to-drink cocktails, spirits and weed. Aging out of craft beer drinkers. Some might even say creative stagnation in the industry.

So, we share an article from Craft Brewers Business on approaches we can take to appeal to the younger generation and how to capitalize on opportunities for future growth and stabilization.

It’s dry January and complicating the toughest month of the year for craft breweries is a more sober Gen Z. Gen Z drink on average 20 percent less than Millennials, who also drink less than the previous generation. According to Forbes, the non-alcoholic beverage category is expected to grow by 25 percent between 2022 and 2026. After a difficult year across the industry, breweries are faced with challenges of reaching newer and younger customers to remain competitive.

In order to better understand Gen Z’s decision making and visit motivations, Craft Beer Advisory Services completed a nationwide consumer personas report and focus group interview with Gen Z craft beer drinkers. The nationwide survey went to craft beer drinkers across the United States and results came in across the second half of 2023.

Gen Z craft beer drinkers are split down the middle when it comes to taproom visit frequency. Half of them visit taprooms monthly or less while the other half make multiple visits per month or more.

So what is Gen Z drinking in the taproom?

It was not IPAs, heavy stouts, or beer in general in some cases. Drinks beyond beer such as seltzers, ciders, or even liquor were mentioned by nearly everyone, particularly women. Groups of Gen Z customers going to the taproom together often have different tastes or preferences only satisfied by variety.

When it comes to beer, lighter styles are significantly more popular. Early drinking often starts with domestics like Miller Lite or Bud Light, so pilsners and lagers are most approachable for these new craft beer customers. Even within the beer category, variety is most important. Flights, samples, and the ability to try new things is most attractive to Gen Z.

What about food?

Half of Gen Z rated food as a very or extremely important factor motivating a taproom visit. This ranked second after beer and drink variety. Traditional pub fare like burgers, pizza, and wings ranked among the top foods of interest, but vegetarian options like salad were also more likely to be ordered by Gen Z than other generations indicating the health conscious consumer goes beyond the beverage category.

Does entertainment or events matter?

Yes, they do. In fact, Gen Z and Millennials value entertainment like live music almost twice as much as generations. Across the research report and focus group, Gen Z made it clear they are after experiences. Social media is regularly being checked to learn about different events or see what the brewery environment is like.

Putting it all together

Gen Z is after the complete experience. They want a variety of drinks to choose from, beer and beyond. Extending visits nearly requires food of some sort. Events and entertainment matter nearly twice as much as they do compared to older generations. Almost half of Gen Z is unwilling to travel more than 10 miles to try a new brewery, so hitting on these factors is more of a need-to-have than a nice-to-have for craft breweries interested in appealing to younger audiences.

Attribution: Article Retrieved from Craft Brewing Business, written By Michael Varda.

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