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How to Identify Your Target Beer Customer


The beer industry is bustling right now, filled with new customers, new beers and new opportunities. As a result, the brewery industry is also attracting a lot of interest, from people wanting to start their own breweries to investors looking to support the growth.

One of the critical things to ask when entering the industry is: Who is my customer? 

If you’re starting a brewery or looking to expand your existing operation, you must carefully consider this answer. It’s often not nearly as simple as it sounds.

Most companies who enter the ‘craft’ beer industry make the assumption that the craft beer drinker is their target customer. That may be true, but quite often that is far from reality. Take time to consider the following things: 

  1. What channels of distribution have you chosen? If you are focused on the restaurant and pub sector, you need to truly consider the patrons of each venue. Pub customers are different from casual dining customers, for example. Their drinking patterns and their choices are radically different. If you are focused on retail, you need to understand that females do much of the beer shopping in Canada. What will attract them to purchase your beer?

  2. What is the flavour profile of your beer? If you are creating a beer with big, bold flavours and aromas, then the craft beer consumer should definitely be on your radar. If you design a beer that has some decent body but is quite sessionable, then you are probably closer to attracting the mainstream consumer.

  3. The majority of beer consumed in Canada is still mainstream. It is estimated that 60-80% of all beer drinkers are shopping for light, discount, standard lagers and premium lagers. It is much easier to move a standard lager drinker slightly up the ladder than to make them take a leap of faith into the world of bold beers.

  4. The micro industry is relatively small. Only 6% of beer consumed in Canada is in the micro or craft segment. The import segment commands 15% share of the market and quite often, these drinkers enjoy both imports and craft beers.

Creating a well-researched business plan and understanding your beer, your brewery and your customer will really open doors for you.