Consumer science studies have proven that hoppy beers are not just trending, but thriving in today's craft beer market. I wanted to continue this exploration into consumer behavior as related to craft beer. As such, conducting market research of the craft beer industry became my focus in graduate school. The study Important Attributes that Impact Consumption of Craft Beer exhibits dry hopped and complex beers have a direct and statistically significant impact on craft beer consumption (a).
A study done by Gabrieylan, et al. strengthens the case for hops. Willingness to Pay for Sensory Attributes in Beer demonstrates overall taste and hoppiness of a beer have significant and positive impacts on willingness to pay for craft beer (b). If consumers will pay more for a hoppy beer, then it can be assumed that breweries will turn out the beer in demand. This will likely increase the relative volume of hoppy beers on the market.
This research is beneficial for hospitality and consumer behavior researchers, planners, owners, operators, or managers when developing product and marketing strategies. For the time being, every brewery taproom, craft beer bar, and brewpub is recommended to have multiple hop forward options on their beer program.
Have the hop bombs on the beer list and market them. Guest who prefer hoppy beer are likely to consume more craft beer in general and are willing to pay more for hoppy beers.
Furthering research related to the studies above that have been previously discussed, analysis and charting of data from the BeerAdvocate Top 250 as rated by their users reveals that hoppy beers make up a 35.6% of all appearances (c).
With this information, it can be assumed that the current hop forward status quo will remain strong. Consumer preferences for craft beer will push producers to maximize hop character with complexity and depth of beer as market perceptions shift with ever-changing demands. In summary, craft beer drinkers who prefer hoppy beers will consume more, pay a higher price for it, and rate it higher. So, hop those beers and hop them well.
Notes to take away:
Dry hop, whirlpool, add late aroma additions, utilize internal circulation, keg hop beers, and/or experiment with new, flavorful varietals.
Dry hopped and complex beers have a direct and statistically significant impact on craft beer consumption (Hartdegen, et al, 2016).
Consumers will pay more for hoppier beer.
Overall taste and hoppiness of a beer have significant and positive impacts on willingness to pay for craft beer (Gabrieylan, et al, 2014).
Hop forward beers account for a large portion of top rated beers.
The collective of hoppy beers (DIPA, IPA, APA) are rated among the highest of all styles by the user rating of the BeerAdvocate totalling 35.6% of all appearances (BeerAdvocate, 2016).
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Karl S. Hartdegen
Brewer - Crescent City Brewhouse
M.S. Hospitality and Tourism Management - University of New Orleans
B.S. Biological Sciences - Louisiana State University
Cicerone Program Certified Beer Server
(a) Hartdegen, Njite, & Chacko (2106). Important Attributes Related to Craft Beer Consumption : Attributes
(b) Gabrieylan, McCluskey, Marsh, & Ross (2014). Willingness to Pay for Sensory Attributes in Beer : WTP
(c) BeerAdvocate (2016) Top 250 List : Top 250