Is binge drinking on the downward trend? Maybe, as long as the alcohol being imbibed is craft beer. According to a new study out from The Harris Poll, which looked at the drinking habits of 1,978 adults, craft-beer drinkers — especially younger craft-beer drinkers — are more likely to moderate their drinking and participate in exercise than their Bud-guzzling counterparts.
While the results don’t actually address the prevalence of binge drinking, they do paint a pretty clear picture of the lifestyles of craft-beer drinkers. For example (and stay with us here, the numbers are about to get dizzying), 73% of people who drink craft beer think of alcohol as an indulgence or special treat. It’s a small change compared to the 67% of average drinkers who view alcohol as an indulgence. But take a closer look at the youngsters — 80% of 21-34 year olds and 77% of those between the ages of 35 and 44 — and the difference becomes fairly significant. Millennial craft beer connoisseurs view their brews as “special.”
They also live their lives differently. 57% of the craft beer drinkers reported maintaining a healthy lifestyle through regular exercise, compared to 52% of average drinkers. And, interestingly enough, they’re more likely to participate in group exercise: 40% reported preferring it over exercising solo, compared to 33% of average drinkers. Crossfit and craft brews must go hand in hand.
When it comes to their diets, craft-brew drinkers are similarly vigilant. Seventy-eight percent reported reading nutritional labels, compared to 73% of average drinkers. And 27% actively seek out locally-made food and beverages, compared to 21% of average drinkers. They’re even slightly more likely to track calorie intake: 18%, compared to the 14% of the average drinkers.
Surely the numbers aren’t great for breweries struggling to get their customers to drink more, but Danelle Kosmal, vice president of Nielsen’s Beverage Alcohol Practice, sees the figures as an opportunity for brewers and retailers. As she told The Harris Poll:
“First, it’s important for brewers to prioritize weekends for their biggest events in-store or at the brew pub and tasting rooms. This is when craft drinkers are thinking most about beer-drinking occasions. However, there also could be new opportunities to engage craft drinkers by creating weekday drinking occasions. Many brewers are already doing this through events like brewery-sponsored yoga or weekly group runs. It is a great way for craft drinkers to stick with their fitness plans, while still engaging in a fun, social activity, and then enjoying a beer with friends who share similar fitness goals and interests.”
There could be something in that. The poll also looked at factors that motivate drinkers to attend brewery-sponsored health and wellness events. Sixty-four percent of craft-beer drinkers reported that they were more likely to attend if a beverage or tasting was included in the price of the event — a huge leap up from the 37% of average drinkers. And the figure gets even higher when you look at the younger age groups: 73% of 21 to 34-year-olds and 77% of 35 to 44-year-olds.
The TL;DR of the study: Craft-beer drinkers are in the minority, they think of beer as an indulgence and not a habit, and they’ll work out for free beer. But come on, who wouldn’t?