This script is from the second season of Beer Notes, which you can listen to at beernotes.org.

When we define craft beer drinkers as people who drink craft beer “at least several times per year,” then 40% of those 21 and over were craft beer drinkers in 2018. In 2015, it was only 35%. This week on Beer Notes, we’re discussing the shifting demographics of craft beer drinkers.

According to a Nielsen-Harris poll conducted in 2018, 31.5% of craft beer drinkers in the U.S. are female and 68.5% are male. The number of female drinkers is going up, slowly.

In 2015, this same poll reported that 29.1% of all females in the U.S. were craft beer drinkers. By 2018, that number was 31.5%. This translates into 14.7 million new craft beer drinkers since 2015 and almost half of them (6.6 million) are women.

If you look at the breakdown by location, there are wide differences. In Portland, Oregon, a craft beer drinking mecca, 52.7% of craft beer drinkers are FEMALE. Anecdotally, here on Delmarva, almost half of the patrons in our local breweries are women.

Race and ethnicity differences are slightly more skewed and catching up at a slower pace. In 2015, Harris poll data reported that 86.3% of craft beer drinkers were non-Hispanic whites. By 2018, this percentage dropped to 85.5. The growth in non-white craft beer drinkers is due to growth in the overall number of craft beer drinkers, not an increase in diversity.

To attract a broader demographic, the Brewers Association’s Diversity Ambassador, J. Nikol Jackson-Beckham said that breweries should mirror the diversity they want to see in their clientele. She said, quote, “breweries should form relationships with new fans and interact with customers outside the walls of their brewery, at festivals and community events.”

Thanks to efforts by the Brewers Association and breweries around the world committed to diversity, the makeup of craft beer drinkers is changing– slowly. There’s still a long way to go.

For Beer Notes, this is Anne Neely.

Kristin Helf
Author: Kristin Helf

Kristin is a writer and picture-taker in Ocean City, Maryland. She likes puppies, pumpkin ales and watching movies for the Ocean City Film Festival in her spare time.

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