The 2016 Craft Beer Survey results have been announced by Sydney beer bottle shop Beer Cartel! For those who didn’t see the advertisements for the survey, Beer Cartel put participants into the running for a $500 voucher for completing the survey, and, while it’s probably good marketing for Beer Cartel, it’s also good of them to compile this information and share it with Australian beer drinkers. This stuff is important!

A Quick Summary of the Australian Craft Beer Survey Results

There were over 6,500 participants in the survey, which obviously is well below the total amount of craft beer drinkers in Australia! However, the sample is (hopefully) large enough to get an idea of Australian drinking trends.

The demographics completing the survey were both a little surprising while not surprising at all:

Chart courtesy of Beer Cartel.

The age range the geography is probably spot on, but the gender split is a little surprising. While yes, the craft beer scene is male dominated, anecdotal evidence would go again such a large gender split. Perhaps we can conclude that more male beer drinkers are active enough online to respond to ads to fill out the survey. That and they’re probably more swayed by the chance at free beer!

Other quick stats for those in a hurry is that Victoria was voted the best craft beer state in the country by a wide margin (48% of all votes). However, Feral Brewing, from Western Australia took out the Number 1 spot for Australian brewers, followed closely by relative newbie Pirate Life. This knocked Stone & Wood to number three in what is a bit of a surprise. Especially considering the Feral and Stone & Wood have been competing for the Number 1 spot on the Hottest 100 list for some time now. Maybe this foreshadows things to come for the Hottest 100?

Also not surprising is that pale ale is the most popular style followed by IPA, as seen below:

Chart courtesy of Beer Cartel.

The styles seem to follow general accessibility and ease of drinking.

Finally, the average weekly spend on craft beer was $56. This is inclusive of beers at bars and restaurants, as well as take homes. This is actually a little bit low considering it could be easy to drop at least $50 on a few beers on a Saturday night, let alone a few beers at home during the week.

Things We Can All Agree On

The survey showed that the vast majority of Australian craft beer drinkers agree on a number of issues, namely:

  • Beer selection at sporting and music events suck
  • The government needs to support the industry better
  • Craft beer drinkers like restaurants with a good beer list

And we couldn’t agree more with this! But now that we all agree, now what? While it’s easy to vote with your feet on restaurants, the government and sport issue, we fear, is one that will go unheard, especially as they’re intertwined in a way.

Australian governments are constantly trying to combat irresponsible drinking and drinking related violence, it’s not a good time to be campaigning for the freedom to have an 10.8% double IPA at the footy. But yes, while a decent sessionable pale ale might be nice, it will fall on deaf ears.

We craft beer drinkers also tend to agree that beer tastes better from a glass (82%) and that we’re drinking less but better quality stuff (78%).

That first number on glass drinkers is a little concerning though. Really. This means that 18% of respondents (more than 1170 people) don’t clink beer tastes better from a glass. Sure, they’re not saying it tastes worse, but they don’t think it tastes better. Who are these people? Do they not enjoy the malty, hoppy aroma goodness of drinking from a glass?

And Disagreements

The numbers were split on cans versus bottles, with most (40%) having no opinion. There’s not a lot of passion on this subject, except for a vocal minority in each camp. Sure, a lot of beer drinkers may have a preference, but not a big enough one to voice it.

Chart courtesy of Beer Cartel.

It wasn’t surprising that 90% of respondents (of a craft beer survey!) said that their favourite type of beer was craft beer, but 4% who said their favourite was main stream beer was surprising. The question itself was a bit off to appear on such a targeted survey. Not to say that beer drinkers can’t enjoy both craft beer and more main stream beer, but it seems the question is missing the point somewhat.

Finally, as mentioned, Victoria was the overwhelming winner as the best state for craft beer even though only 32% of respondents came from Victoria and 36% came from New South Wales. Quite evidently people weren’t simply voting with what state they lived in and instead really considered this very important decision.

Thanks again to Beer Cartel for the thorough survey. It was interesting to see the results, read their analysis, and come up with our own thoughts on it. And if you haven’t checked out Beer Cartel yet, it’s well worth your while. They have big range of beer and the staff is quite helpful.