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Top 2022 Trends in the Craft Brewing Business – Part 3

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By Jon Reynolds

There is no doubt that the last two years have been a wild ride for most businesses. COVID-19 has impacted the craft brewing business pretty hard. Revenue and job losses, closures, expansion or start-up plans on hold, and that’s on top of supply chain challenges; it’s been a rough go for craft beer.

However, craft beer industry experts and instructors in The University of Vermont’s Business of Craft Beer Professional Certificate program are predicting that the industry will bounce back in 2022. But the world of craft beer will not look the same as it did in pre-COVID times. As we continue to explore our Top 2022 Trends in Craft Brewing in Part 3 of our series, take a look back at Top 2022 Trends in the Craft Brewing Business Part 1 and Craft Brewing Business Part 2 to read trend forecasting from a variety of brewing industry perspectives.

cannabis infused beer brewing business
Cannabis infused craft beer

I’m drawing on my 42-years of craft beer industry experience as a Wisconsin-based beer, wine and spirts consultant, to offer some insight into how I think 2022 could shape up for craft brewing. I think the blurring of alcohol lines will accelerate in 2022. Breweries will develop high profile partners to extend their reach into growing crossover alcohol segments, accelerated by hard seltzers: Boston Beer/Pepsi; Coke/Topo Chico; Heineken/AriZona; Boston Beer/Beam Suntory; Boston Beer Finnish Long Drink; Diageo Innovation; Gallo Innovation.

Cannabis-based beverages will continue to gain momentum.

Constellation’s Canopy Growth, Sweetwater/Altria/Tilray, and Ceria cannabis manufacturers will strengthen the CBD/THC/Hemp-infused beverage brand development, provide go-to-market distributor platforms, and enhance overall marketing/brand awareness and category management in the Cannabis category. 

Craft Brewing Makes a Come Back in 2022

I think the 2021 growth of craft beers will return, closures will decelerate, and taproom/brewpub openings will return to pre-COVID rates. Expected growth is predicted to be mid-single digits with Bart Watson of Brewers Association predicting +7% growth for 2021 and +5% in 2022.

Business of Craft Beer alumni Kate Conway of Pickett Brewing Company
Business of Craft Beer alumna Kate Conway of Pickett Brewing Company

However, I believe 2021 will end up more in line with previous years at +5-6%, therefore, my prediction for 2022 is +3-4%. This is based on slower draft replenishment on-premise and supply chain shortages of cans and ingredients. Plus, both high ABV (DIPA) and low ABV (light) beers will continue to grow with hazy IPA’s, lagers and sours driving the bus, non-alcohol craft growth will continue, and craft malts will get their due. Be on the lookout in 2022 as taprooms continue to evolve and craft beer becomes more even more diverse.

Cheers to continued growth of craft beer brewing in 2022!!

Learn more about UVM’s Business of Craft Beer Professional Certificate Program.

craft beer brewing business
Jon Reynolds of BrewPlan Inc

Jon Reynolds is the founder of Brewplan, a strategic marketing advisor to craft brewers, craft distilleries, boutique wineries, and a Certified Instructor in the UVM Business of Craft Beer Professional Certificate Program. He writes about business trends, beer consumers, distributor issues, legislation that affects craft brewers, marketing tools, and strategic planning to improve brewery profits.

Views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author who has spent more than 40+ years in the beer, wine and spirits industry and are provided for informational purposes only.  The information set forth reflects the author’s opinion of current trends in the industry and should be researched further to make your own business conclusions.