Craft beers have been on the rise in popularity in Lincoln

Posted By: Jason Taylor

LINCOLN, Neb.  A UNL professor studied the aspects and culture behind this growth.

"So aficionados are those trying to move from being casual drinkers towards being a connoisseur." Said Andre Maciel, Assistant Professor of Marketing at UNL

UNL Assistant Marketing Professor Andre Maciel conducted a three year study on how people develop new taste and become beer experts. He says craft beers are becoming more popular. They’re different from mass produced American lager beers like Budweiser because craft beers are produced by a local independent brewer. Maciel says he was surprised to find that developing taste doesn’t depend on just what you like.

"But what we found is that to develop taste, to become an expert in a particular market consumers have to taste a bunch of things they don’t like. Just because they have to learn about it." Maciel Said

The study found that when trying craft beers people have an epiphany about the beverage and how uniquely different it can taste.

"They will read voraciously, they will take courses, they will visit breweries to talk to brew masters so that way they can learn more about brewing techniques. Many of them become home brewers because that’s another way of learning more about beer." Maciel Said

He says there’s no specific culture to being a craft beer aficionado. However, the most common demographics are white collar, middle class males with college degrees.

"Many of them have backgrounds in Business, Engineering, and Information Technology. And, those are fields that reward the Methodical kind of thinking." Maciel Said

Currently the west coast, northeast and Chicago area have the highest share of craft brewers but it’s rapidly catching up in our neck of the woods.

Maciel says it’s important to note that craft beer experts are always learning new flavors instead of just sticking with the same. According to the brewers association, 24 million barrels of craft beers were sold in 2015, a 12.8 percent increase when overall beer sales are stagnate.