Crafting the Future: Headwinds & Opportunities Ahead For Brewers

The craft beer industry faced some headwinds in 2023 due to inflation. While the situation has somewhat stabilized, prices remain higher. The biggest headwinds ahead for 2024 are shifts in consumer habits with many choosing ready-to-drink (RTD) beverages and the trend of dry January.

Zak Koga, the Vice-President of the Wisconsin Brewers Guild and owner of Karben4 brewing says despite these headwinds, there’s also opportunities for growth.

He says, “One significant trend on the horizon is the continued growth of the cannabis industry. Cannabis-infused beverages are becoming more prevalent. We’re cautiously exploring this space, but I believe it will play a significant role in shaping beverage choices moving forward.”

Supply chain challenges, which were more pronounced in 2022, seem to have eased, but the cost of materials, especially aluminum and glass, remains higher. Freight costs, accounting for a substantial portion of beer production expenses, continue to exert pressure on prices. The industry is hopeful that these costs may normalize as demand stabilizes.

“On a legislative front, a landmark bill signed by the governor has brought positive changes for craft beverage producers,” explains Koga. “The bill addresses issues related to taproom business, opening hours, and trade practices, providing a clearer path for the industry to thrive.”