What's Happening in 2023: Beer Trends

// By Malika Wichner // , Mar 20, 2023

Topics: Restaurant Trends

Bottoms up to a new year and new beer trends. While thinking about what to stock behind your bar in 2023, consider these five industry-hot picks to make the most of your inventory. 


Beer Trends 2023 - Backbar


1. Hello to High ABV’s

Consumers are all about getting a banging buzz for their buck. This trend started in 2022 and predictions show it’s going to swing over into 2023. 


Beers with a mild price point with a high Alcohol by Volume (ABV), around 7-9%, are going to be hot items on menus.


The popularity of IPAs, which typically have higher ABVs, has swung back and forth like a pendulum. But, in 2023 it seems they're going to maintain steady sales. Consumers who enjoy IPAs are now looking for the strong and unique flavors of double IPAs that also contain a high ABV, sometimes over 9%. 


2. Sour Supremacy 

The rise of sour beers has been steady since 2020 and it looks like they’re going to shine in 2023. The unique, fruity yet tart flavor profile appeals to the pallet and is skyrocketing into the mainstream menu.


Part of this is due to brewers expanding the selection of sours available. Creating tons of delicious options with varying ABVs, taste notes, and even low-calorie versions. The acidic, sour taste leaves an addictive feel on the palette, tempting the consumer to want another round again and again. 


Sours also appeal to cocktail and wine lovers since the taste can be fruity, bold, and smooth giving them a different taste and mouthfeel than a typical beer and closer to the charm of a cocktail or glass of wine

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jose-hernandez-uribe-3CM0-XTk2WE-unsplash (2)3. Alcohol Free-dom

Another trend that started to see a real rise in the last few years and is going to continue to rise in popularity in 2023 is alcohol-free alternatives. As stated earlier, high-ABV beers are trending. But, as that category goes up in popularity it seems brews with little to no alcohol are also steadily increasing alongside it in manufacturing options and sales. 


With the rise of non-alcoholic beer varieties that don’t cut corners on taste, the trend has steadily grown and could reach its year-to-date high in 2023. 


This market opens up the realm of “social drinking” to customers who don't like the taste of alcohol but are still looking to have the experience of holding an ice-cold beer while socializing. Something to note, a non-alcoholic beer, by definition, doesn’t always mean the ABV is zero. To be marketed in this category the beverage just has to be below .5% alcohol by volume according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration


4. Get it While You Can!

Holidays, beer feasts, and limited batches have put seasonal beers on the top of the popularity list. 


Consumers in 2023 will go wild for their favorite brands’ seasonal selections which will translate into a boost in sales or order requests. 


Oktoberfest brews, pumpkin flavor-infused options, and season-specific fruity or floral flavor notes give breweries many ways to appeal to their customers. 


In addition to season and holiday-specific flavors and types of drafts, small-batch, limited-edition beers also get drinkers excited to buy. Certain brands have created cult followings around releases that are only available for a limited time throughout the year. 


5. Lager Than Life

Since the global pandemic, the amount of consumers that are interested in their health has breathed life back into the iconic lager beer style. Compared to the calorie-rich IPA, lagers are the perfect alternative. 


Lighter, more refreshing, and typically low in ABV and calories. Breweries are appealing to the mainstream with easy-to-enjoy lagers with low calories in an attempt to compete with the hard seltzer trend that has begun to lose a bit of its traction. 


Lagers meet similar needs to non-alcoholic beer options, except with the bonus of an easier buzz. 

Malika Wichner

About the author, Malika Wichner

Malika is the Marketing Content Manager for Backbar. Prior to creating content to link industry professionals to Backbar she worked as a bartender and server in Chicago. She enjoys red wine or an IPA with a good book in her free time.

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