Trends in the Craft Brewery Industry

Trends in the Craft Brewery Industry to Look Out for in 2022

February 11, 2022

Craft beer is a vast and constantly evolving industry. Only a generation ago, we had a few macro and micro options to choose from. When you think in terms of how far our industry has come, it seems like there can’t be much more that can be done! We’ve seen the rise of rosé beers, seltzers, seasonals, low-calorie beers and the list goes on.

And while you may think that you’ve seen it all, we’re here to tell you there’s still more to come! Here are a few trends in the craft brewery industry to look out for in 2022.

Craft Beer Trends for the New Year

Clean Labels

At the forefront of this year, we already see upgrades in beer labels that display not only what the beverage is (along with clever tasting notes) but where it came from and how it was crafted.

It is comforting to have simplicity when life feels so complex. The clean label trend demonstrates how consumers’ perceptions of the value of beverages are influenced by the quality of the ingredients, not their quantity. Also, this is why simple ingredient lists continue to be consumers’ favorites.

Consumers have proven time and again that transparency is essential. Rather than combing through the official ingredient list of Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and other healthier-for-you retailers, many clients eliminate sweeteners or extra colors. Reading labels isn’t something clients are concerned about if the beverage is better for them.

In 2022, health and wellness will continue to drive trends so that beverage brands will aim for simplicity in beverage formulations. Moderation will be the key to clarity in the spirits industry.

To achieve holistic health goals, some consumers even opt to go alcohol-free or low-alcohol. In the past year, non-alcoholic spirits and ready-to-drink mocktails — as well as lower alcohol content wine-based cocktails — have increased.

Low Alcohol or No Alcohol

As we mentioned above, and as we enter the third year of a global pandemic, health is at the forefront of most consumers’ minds these days. This includes enjoying the “pops” without the wobble. We’ve seen significant leaps and bounds in non-alcoholic and low-alcoholic beer formulation and taste.  The demand for no-alcohol and low-alcohol beverages will increase as consumers worldwide become more health-conscious and aware of what they consume. Millennials, who are concerned about wellness, have shown great interest in this category. This trend is expected to continue in 2022.

Smoothie Beers

You’re missing out if you haven’t started sipping smoothie beers yet! Beers like these are so out of the ordinary that they border on not even being beers at all. Combined with the fruit flavors, their creaminess can be a bit divisive; people either love them or not so much!

Being that smoothie beers are fairly newer to the market, we expect this trend in the craft brewery industry to continue to grow for the next few years. If the formulations continue to improve, we’re sure people will get on board with these smoothie delights.


Everyone loves a good old refresh! With the pandemic, breweries were forced to pivot to survive. Brewers took advantage of the quarantine to evaluate their branding, messaging, designs and positioning. In recent years, breweries have realized it’s important to redefine their core brand and align their marketing, sales and packaging strategies with their post-Covid-related strategic goals.

With more than 8,700 breweries in operation in just the US alone, there is an incredible level of competition. The demand is always growing since 1,200 new breweries are in the planning stage. A massive surge in alcoholic canned beverages is also occurring along with the increasing competition within the beer industry. Today, consumers have access to a wide variety of hard seltzers, teas, ciders, wines and other ready-to-drink cocktails. This makes branding more complex than ever before!

As breweries attempt to overcome these marketing hurdles, they will need to experiment with new marketing channels and new content to break through the highly-dense clutter consumers face today within the adult beverage industry.

QR Codes

As we are cautiously approaching post-pandemic times, breweries must adjust their in-person behavior by adding outdoor seating, limiting indoor seating limits, offering online food and drink orders, and providing contactless payment.

To comply with ever-changing local and state ordinances and make their customers feel comfortable and safe, breweries have had to adapt their websites and taprooms with new hospitality technologies.

The use of everything from intelligent kegs to NFC business cards to specially designed point-of-sale software is now widespread. Informed brewery navigation, and growth, require brewery technology and the data it produces.

Marketing materials should highlight how these new technologies and services are helping make customer experiences faster, safer, and better by embracing the new on-premises dynamics.

The Ebb and Flow of Craft Brewery Trends

As the population consumes more drinks, its tastes seem to fluctuate. We have had a signature drink every year, from the refreshing Aperol Spritz to the classic espresso martini.

And just like the spirits industry, the craft beer world will ebb and flow, following the same consumer whims that influence the rest of the drinking world.

This year, you can expect to enjoy newer and cleaner labels, a rise in low/no alcohol beers and other drinks, exciting new smoothie beers, your favorite brewery getting a fresh new look and a surge in consumer technology like QR codes.

If you’re a brewery looking to really get on top of your game this year, our Beer30® brewery management software is exactly what you need! Schedule your free demo today!

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