Top Craft Brewing Export Markets Include Canada, United Kingdom, Sweden, Australia, and Korea
Today’s craft brewers are seeking growth opportunities. The craft brewing industry has seen exponential growth; however, recent years have shown only smaller growth margins. Part of this reason could be due to rising prices of barley and hops as well as aluminum, while other reasons may be due to competition. Export markets are key for continued craft beer growth.
One strategic way to offset slower growth is to diversify your market in order to increase your customer base. And one of the biggest potential, yet least tapped, markets is craft beer exports.
Only 2% of total craft beer sold in 2016 was exported.
Local Craft Beer Is Not Just for Local Consumption
Yes, Americans do love their locally crafted beers, especially those from small microbrewers and brewpubs, as an alternative to traditional beer, wine, and spirits. And buyers can be fiercely loyal to their brand.
Since the establishment of beer halls and saloons, the consumption of beer has centered around socializing and public events. Beer was the original social gatherer. And craft beer has the potential to connect people more than locally but on a global scale as well. Why is this?
International consumers have fallen in love with American-made craft beer. Drinking foreign craft beers can be perceived as exotic or seen as a status symbol in other countries. So, presenting a unique offering outside of U.S. shores immediately sets an American craft beer apart from competition. In addition, American travelers will enjoy a familiar American brew while on a foreign trip.
According to an April 2019 report by the Beer Institute, Mexico ranked number one in overall beer imports by volume with 78,821,972 gallons imported, a 9.5% increase over 2018. Other top 10 beer importers included the Netherlands, Belgium, Canada, Ireland, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, Jamaica, and Poland.
$200 million worth of craft beer is projected to be exported in 2020.
Globalizing the Craft Beer Industry
In terms of compliance, distribution and logistics, international marketing, export regulations, taxes, and liability, there is a lot to consider in taking a local brewery to the national stage. That’s why companies like Brew Export, Crafted, AmeriCraftBier, Craft Can Travel, and Velour Imports are popping up as all-on-one shops that can take craft beers from local to international distribution.
These turnkey operations offer all-encompassing services for craft brewers who want to go next level with their sales. Basically, they do the legwork while American brewers watch their sales and fan base increase on an international level.
Many state and local brewery associations can also help in the process of exporting craft beer, including the U.S. Commercial Service (www.trade.gov/cs/) and the Brewers Association’s Export Development Program (EDP) (www.brewersassociation.org) through trade shows, seminars, festivals, and more. Since the EDP program’s inception in 2004, American craft beer exports have increased 1,400%, with a 2018 value estimated at $74 million.
Drinking an imported fine wine used to be a status symbol. Today, it’s craft beer!
Although international craft beer exports may still be in its infancy, it may be advantageous to investigate and get on board with this trend or risk being left behind. Today, some of America’s 4,000 craft breweries are already gaining momentum in other parts of North America as well as South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. For craft brewers looking to expand their sales and customer base, an international market is the next horizon. Whatever export market is explored, these markets will be key for continued craft beer growth.