How UK craft brewers are winning with Generation Z - Focus

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The adage that younger consumers of alcohol are drinking less but drinking better is widely-recognised. Earlier this month, the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) released its latest British Craft Beer Report, highlighting ways in which some of the country's craft brewers are successfully targeting Generation Z. Here's a look at some of the approaches that have achieved cut-through with beer consumers aged LDA to about 22.

Craft brewers in the UK are working hard to win over Generation Z consumers

Craft brewers in the UK are working hard to win over Generation Z consumers

  • Beers for music fans

Signature Brew in east London has approached around 25 different artists to create collaboration beers. The likes of Alt-J, Enter Shikari, Mastodon, Mogwai and Frank Turner have taken up Signature's offer, resulting in brews alongside a core including Roadie, Studio Pilsner, Backstage IPA and Nightliner.

"We're on a mission to revolutionise the quality of beer at live music events by bringing an exciting core range of music-inspired craft beers to the best bars, venues and festivals in the UK and beyond," said Signature co-founder Tom Bott. "Through our … taproom and music venue in Haggerston in east London, we're bringing two passions together with the winning formula of brewery fresh beer, amazing live music and a great space."

  • Special occasions and veganism

In Wales, Tomos & Lilford Brewery has targeted weddings, with a package for soon-to-be-weds that allows parties to attend an exclusive beer-tasting session and select their wedding beer. The group then spends the day brewing the beer ahead of their own big day.
As veganism continues to take hold, the craft brewer has also removed animal products from its brewing process - about 75% of Tomos & Lilford's beers are now fully vegan.

  • Brewing outside the box

In a survey of 18-32-year-old consumers, Draycott Brewing Co in Derbyshire asked what excited them most about real ale. The most popular response found that a totally different beer to the usual offerings had strong appeal, as did 'interesting flavours'. Subsequently, the company came up with a peanut butter porter, entitled 'Lord Have Mercy'. The expression is fast becoming Draycott's most popular beer, particularly with younger consumers.

  • A youth club for beer drinkers

Boss Brewing in Swansea has found favour with consumers by putting together a drinking space featuring table tennis, a foosball and a pool table, giant Jenga and arcade games. The activities are all free of charge.

"There's a huge split in the demographics of our drinkers," noted Sarah John, the Welsh start-up's brewer. "Whilst our more chilled upstairs area is populated with a more mature crowd, the youngsters all congregate downstairs. It's a winning formula because the younger generation really don't do going out 'for a drink' - they expect that little bit more and are looking for entertainment or an activity as a reason to leave the house.

"We find that they may drink less, but they are happy to go out and drink a couple if there's more to the night than just drinking."

  • There's an app for that

Capitalising on their addiction to smartphones, St Andrews Brewhouse in Norfolk has created an app for younger consumers to pay for their beers. The app rewards use with discounts off goods and services at City Pub sites around the city of Norwich.

  • Open mic nights

Once a month, Old School Brewery in Lancashire, invited musicians and performers from the local area to perform in their taproom.

"The open nights feature a range of bands and performers from the local area and from across the north of England, attracting a diverse audience," said Catherine Walsh from Old School. "Over the last couple of years, [it] has developed a very loyal following."

The popularity of the open nights has led to the brewer hosting larger events, such as private parties and beer festivals.

Click here to access SIBA's British Craft Beer Report 2019.

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