Analysing Europe’s Craft Beer Revolution

Uncovering the key demographics, audience affinities and major influencers

Much has changed in the business world over the years, but one thing has remained exactly the same: The importance of understanding your audience. Without knowing who you’re selling to and what they want, it’s impossible to succeed for long.

But while the principle has stayed the same, the tools have changed. The massive volume of online consumer conversations and improved tools for sorting through these conversations have given brands a better way to understand the preferences, demographics and opinions of their target audiences.

But how does it all work? How can brands use online conversations (in addition to their own data) to better understand their target market? Well, because we believe that it’s always better to show than tell, we’ve decided to illustrate modern audience analysis by using a real trend: the rise of craft beer in EMEA.

Perfecting your craft

Craft beer is becoming a big deal in the EMEA region, particularly in Europe, where the market is predicted to grow by 11% between 2017 and 2021. On a global scale, the United States is the world’s biggest craft beer producer, followed by the United Kingdom — and other European and Asian nations are starting to close the gap.

Growth in the European brewing industry has been particularly notable in countries with established beer cultures, such as Germany, Belgium and Czech Republic. Here, a flurry of microbreweries have sprung up and wrested attention away from the traditionally dominant multinational brewers. By 2015, there were over 5,000 microbreweries operating across Europe.

There’s no denying that craft beer is becoming big business in Europe, but that’s just the beginning. What has fueled this growth? Surely, the dramatic increase in supply is being mirrored by rising demand. But what exactly does that demand look like? And who’s driving it?

To answer these questions, we need to better understand evolving consumer opinions and preferences around beer and other alcoholic beverages in the EMEA region. And the key to this is audience analysis.

Analysing the demographics and evolving opinions of various groups can help craft beer brands and other companies better understand who’s steering the craft beer bandwagon, and who’s likely to climb aboard next.

In this post, we’ll use the growing European craft beer industry as a way to explain the value of AI-powered audience analysis and how it can help beer brands better understand the:

  • Evolving demographics and personas of craft beer lovers
  • Interest and affinities of this audience
  • Major influencers and brands in the conversation

Outlining the audience

Clearly, the rise of craft beer represents an important trend for the European alcohol industry, and one which shows no signs of slowing down. For brands wishing to better understand the trends driving the rise of craft beer, social media analytics and AI-Powered Consumer Insights can provide an invaluable starting point. Online consumer conversations can help us understand not only what’s being said about a topic, but also who is saying it. As every marketer knows, understanding your audience in depth is a key step in developing marketing campaigns that resonate. Knowing the preferences, demographics, and motivations of your audience helps your campaigns and your products to reach their full potential.

 

As can be seen in the below graphics, the conversation about craft beer is dominated by men (78%), and skews significantly in the direction of an older audience (35 and above). The age breakdown graph also shows that the next largest chunk of the conversation comes from the 17 and below group. This could point to opportunities for craft beer marketers to dig deeper and explore ways to reach up-and-coming target audiences.

Affinities and interests

We need more than just basic demographics to truly understand the craft beer audience. Affinities and interests can help with this. For example, the below graph shows that EMEA craft beer audiences also have strong affinities for ‘home brewing’ and ‘wine’. This could be a good jumping off point for planning strategic partnerships with other brands of potential interest to your core target audience.

Drilling down further into the affinities can show us individual posts, like the ones to the right. These suggest possibilities for pairing a craft beer brand with another brand with which the target audience has already shown an affinity

Major Influencers

Social media influencers can play a critical role in amplifying your marketing campaigns. That’s why identifying influencers within a particular audience is useful to help guide your strategy for engaging that audience and expanding your reach. Perhaps you could pay them to represent your brand, or partner with them to run a joint promotion. Below, we’ve identified the top 10 EMEA influencers who have been driving the conversation around craft beer over the last six months.

Of course, not all influencers are the same. Understanding which influencers discuss particular brands or offerings, or have especially strong connections to a specific audience, means understanding the main topics in the conversation.

The topic wheel feature allows you to drill down into an influencer’s main interests within a particular topic. This can be helpful for identifying sub-topics that could potentially form ideas for your brand to further engage with the influencer. Here’s an example for the top craft beer influencer: @peterardennet.

Conclusion

Companies that don’t understand their customers (and potential customers) are destined to fail. How can you create an effective marketing campaign, a satisfying product or a loyal fan base without understanding your audience?

Listening in to millions of consumer conversations is the best way for brands to understand their audiences — who they are and what they want.

In this article we focused on the craft beer industry in Europe as a case study in modern audience analysis. We discovered key demographics, and identified affinities, interests and major influencers within the online conversation. All of these insights provide invaluable intelligence for craft beer and related CPG brands to draw on when creating new marketing campaigns.

Want to learn more about audience analysis? Read our 5-Minute Guide to Audience Analysis Guide here!

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