The IWSR has examined the liquor industry closely during the global COVID-19 pandemic and its most recent report has predicted that beer will bounce back much faster than wine and spirits.

According to the global source for beverage alcohol trends, the beer category is expected to reach 2019 volumes by 2024 and its resilience will most likely be driven by five key factors.

Investment in developing markets

According to the IWSR, the growth of beer markets in developed countries have stalled in recent years. However, many key players have invested heavily in developing markets and this investment will begin to yield dividends as the recovery process from COVID-19 gains momentum.

These developing markets include Africa, where counties including Mozambique, Kenya and Ethiopia have all had new breweries built in the last few years; India, where beer consumption is expected to rise by 5% in the next five years; and Asia, where Heineken and Carlsberg have had recent successful launches in Vietnam and Cambodia.

The continued rise of non-alcoholic beer

Sales of non-alcoholic beer jumped by 15% globally last year, reports the IWSR thanks to improved taste, innovation, marketing support and widening availability. The segment is predicted to expand by nearly 50% over the next five years.

Craft brewers will bounce back

Over the last decade, the craft revolution in beer did much to raise the profile of the beer category, bringing new ideas, innovation and premiumisation to the sector. But IWSR says that the high reliance of these artisanal producers on the on-premise has made them susceptible to the impact of COVID-19 and many will not survive the coming months

“The consumer’s appetite to explore and experiment is unlikely to diminish post COVID-19, and when the green shoots of recovery do emerge, we can expect a new generation of craft players to appear as well, replacing those that did not make it through,” says the report. “These new-age craft players will play an important role in the rehabilitation of the global beer sector.”

Ecommerce will provide a lifeline

Lockdown has made online shopping the norm for consumers and the surge is likely to continue through 2020. For the players in the beer sector who survive, they will upgrade their online shops and partner with digital sales platforms. This will help to offset any sluggish recovery of the on-trade channel and allow the sector to reach out to increasingly more drinkers.

Women will drink more beer

While beer has always had a notable bias towards men, the craft movement brought a broad church of tastes, styles and flavours and as a result, beer’s appeal has increased to a wider, and often more female, audience.

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