Success: Camden Town Brewery - Taking craft beer from local niche to national/international brand
Craft beer has become a key area of growth in an otherwise static beer market, offering variety and originality versus what many consumers view as a corporate product from the mainstream. The UK market, mirroring that in the US, has seen a surge in the number of small brewers servicing this consumer base, attracting the attention of major names.
Established in 2010, Camden Town Brewery has grown to become a prime mover in the UK craft beer market. Reflecting the trend for acquisition as a means of accessing this major growth segment, it was purchased by AB InBev in 2015.
Craft brewing has become attractive for producers, pubs, and retailers alike, with the former seeing growing opportunity to establish themselves and the latter two needing to make space for some craft products on their bars or shelves.
Consumers associate craft with quality; a fifth of beer consumers globally declared craft/artisanal production methods to be most appealing in encouraging them to trade up in their beer choice.
Big business involvement in the market and jumping on the craft bandwagon undoubtedly risks undermining it, detracting from perceived quality, authenticity, and exclusivity.
There is a need for understanding what makes craft beer special ideologically and how to protect that. Beyond a certain point, whether that be volume, geographical availability, or market penetration, craft beer arguably ceases to be craft and becomes a corporate product in the eyes of the consumer.
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