Craft beer is branching out to other parts of the world, whether you like it or not. According to Mintel, nearly a quarter of the beers released last year in the world were considered “high strength,” sporting an ABV of 6.5 percent or higher. This trend of higher-alcohol beers is led by North America, which experienced a 319 percent growth in the category between 2011 and 2014. Europe follows closely behind, at 307 percent, with Latin America and Asia trailing, at 260 and 46 percent respectively. Sorry, Pops, your Budweiser just isn’t cutting it, adorable commercials or not.
In North America alone, almost half (46 percent) of beers launched between 2011 and 2014 had an ABV higher than 6.5 percent.
Evidently, Mintel’s consumer reports show that over a third of drinkers in the U.S. and those in Spain (33 percent), France (39 percent), Italy (41 percent) and Poland (43 percent) who have tried high-ABV brews would drink them again. Studies done in the U.K. show that 44 percent of Brits, Scots and Irish associate high-quality beer with high ABVs.
Jonny Forsyth, a global drinks analyst at Mintel, attributes this global trend to the success of craft beer.
“The craft-beer phenomenon has made high-strength beer acceptable for consumers,” Forsyth says. “And not just acceptable, but trendy and sophisticated.”