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Consumer Trends

Who are your beer customers and what do they want?

Forget about the frat boys of yesterday and today’s overly analytical craft beer snobs—beer consumers are quite a diversified group.  At a breakout session held during Restaurant Business' Restaurant Leadership Conference in late March, Tom Burkemper, senior director of trade marketing for Anheuser-Busch, shared the company’s research, revealing that there are five major beer consumer profiles.

  • 38% of beer consumers—the largest segment—are Loyalists. These are the core beer drinkers; they do a lot of their imbibing on-premise and tend to socialize around beer and sports
  • 25% are Experimenters. These are people who have a passion for beer and are less price sensitive. They’re looking for unique taste profiles and variety and gravitate toward craft brews
  • 15% are Aspirers. Ethnic groups are more dominant in this segment and they tend to drink imported beers
  • 12% are Trend Seekers. These consumers are all about creating memorable events around social occasions. Food/beer pairings are a popular way for this group to connect
  • 10% are Sippers. There’s a skew toward females in this group, and beer is usually not their first beverage of choice. Sippers are spurring the growth of sweeter, fruity beers. 

Targeting beer selections and service to customers’ profiles and experiences can go a long way toward boosting sales. “The higher the engagement of the guest, the more likely they are to make a return visit,” Burkemper adds.

Here’s what else customers expect from on-premise beer service:

  • The beer should be fresh and cold
  • A brand should be consistent in taste and quality
  • A restaurant should offer a good selection of core brands, as well as local and regional brews
  • The server should be well-trained and have good knowledge of the product and how to serve it

“The pour is critical to the beer experience,” Burkemper contends. “If a server pours beer into a glass properly, it can motivate the customer to order 10% more beer.”

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