Five Types of Beer Drinker

Like any other, the market for beer in the UK makes much more sense if divided up into segments rather than viewed as a monolithic block. Breweries, pubs and bars who know exactly which groups they’re targeting will do much better than those who spare it no thought.

We wish we had the time and money to do this more rigorously, but here’s our off-the-cuff attempt to identify some distinct groups based on our own observations.

1. COST-AWARE ENTHUSIASTS
Passionate about good beer but factor cost into their judgement about what ‘good’ means. For them, expensive beers leave a  bad taste, however well made. Tend to believe that there are great beers to be had at a reasonable price and generally stick to drinking them.

2. ZEALOTS
Nothing is more important than drinking good beer. The cost of a particular beer is not a factor in their choice, even if that means spending more money than they can really afford to. Like to try new or unusual beers. Struggle to empathise with other groups.

3. TREND FOLLOWERS
Drink beer because there is a buzz around it at the moment. Turned off by the idea of ‘real ale’, but excited about ‘craft beer’. Not especially loyal to beer and may well be drinking more wine or cider in two years time.

4. LOOKING AFTER THE PENNIES
Driven solely by price. Know where to find the cheapest pint in town and pay little attention to its flavour. Not particularly loyal to any one brand or type of beer, but may broadly identify themselves as either lager or bitter drinkers. More interested in the pleasure of being in a pub than in beer itself.

5. BOOZERS
Drink beer as a means to an end. As well as beer, likely to drink spirits, shots and other drinks on a night out. Usually choose beer based on brand recognition but may take beer strength and price into account if information is displayed.

Notes

  • Some people might belong to more than one group depending on who they’re socialising with or the occasion. Zealots might easily become Boozers on a night out with colleagues, for example, or become Cost Aware Enthusiasts if their financial circumstances change.
  • Trend Followers are particularly interesting. Any business based on their custom needs to think about what to do if it disappears.
  • Our evidence for this segmentation is… nothing. If you want this done properly, pay someone.
  • We’re Zealots with increasing tendencies towards cost awareness.

34 thoughts on “Five Types of Beer Drinker”

  1. This isn’t a million miles away from what I came up with when writing a business plan recently, if I wasn’t stood on a metro platform i’d look it up and compare now. I prefer your names for the segments though.

  2. Listening to Count Arthur Strong’s Radio Show last night, I couldn’t help but picture him as a certain type of beer drinker…

      1. It was really funny until the last episode of the last series, it’s gone off massively since then. Can’t tempt you to a bit of Milton Jones…?

          1. Not sure on your scale, but the type of people who confuse opinion with fact. (I could just be grouchy this morning!)

  3. Haha, nice breakdown of the beer-drinking demographic. I guess I’m a ‘Zealot’ as I spend more than I really should on good bottled beers. Mostly craft I guess but I’m not above buying macro’s if they’re good, not against buying cheaper (less ‘crafty’) ales at supermarkets and not against real ale in any way, shape or form as its my staple when I’m out ‘boozing’, at which time I’m of the mindset that all non-beer forms of alcohol can sod off – except the odd shot of neon-coloured alcoholic sugar at the bar. I would drink fancy rums if I were a wealthy man though :p

  4. Um, that does leave out a huge swathe of drinkers. I’m not fussed about prices too much, as long as they are not ludicrious. And while I only drink decent beer, I’m not evangelical about seeking out only the best cask ales available. I won’t drink Doomsh*te or GKIPA, but I’ll drink some other majors if there’s nothing available. I’ll happily try any new beers, but I also go to the Cat and Wheel to drink Tribute or Butcombe rather than climb the hill to visit the Hillgrove.
    You list is a list of extremes, and most people are more nuanced than that, I’m afraid.

  5. Isn’t this type of bollocks best left to Ad agencies looking to hawk the latest pisswater and justify charging the client a 6 figure sum for a daft advert run at half time during a footie match, because that the only telly blokes watch?

  6. Luke — these exercises tend to have to simplify things or there’d be no point in doing them. A segmentation with 30 million groups wouldn’t be much use.

    CZ/CL — why? What harm is there in us having a dabble?

    Everyone else — if you could just keep telling us which segment you’re in, perhaps providing details of your income, age and contacts, that’d be really helpful for when we sell the information to InBev…

    1. Does that go for Carpe Zytha too? Your multiple personality disorder is making hard to keep track of which one you’re being at any given time.

      (We sympathise.)

  7. Well, what’s the difference? It’s only beer, after all. Beer should be affordable, should provide fun and drinking should be relaxing experience. Thus, I don’t like expensive or rare beers that require special attention.

    Of 3 or 4 good beers at bar I’ll always pick the one that fits my mood. Or just cheapest.

  8. You forgot one. Insider. Gets money from beer or samples of beer so money is literally no object. Has lost some of the sense of value for beer. Describes people in the trade as friends not vendors. Goes on about neo-prohibition even though no one else really gets what they are on about. No longer eats. Pairs.

  9. Hmmm. Everyone’s an amateur sociologist these days:) Good bit of fun but I’m with Luke on this one; I’m not really covered by it. Have been a 2 in the past-I think that helps in London, otherwise you may well be miserable. And I fully expect to be a no 1 when I’m as old as Tandleman.

  10. Good point by Ghost Drinker. I’m a 1/2 at this point in my life but was definitely 4/5 as a teenager. I want to deny that I have ever been or will be a 3. @Stuart_Arnold

  11. I find if I’m buying bottles at the local beer shop then it’s most definitely 2. If I’m in the pub it’s mostly 1, mainly because I go to the pub for a few and don’t really fancy a night on 15% Quintuple IPA.

    Echoing SA’s comments, if I ever become a 3, feel free to beat me to within an inch of my worthless life.

  12. My location defines my number (assuming I am happy to accept numerical identification). If I am drinking a beer watching a simplistic grunt fest like football a few of some 4 for £5 bottles is fine.

    If I am having a beer tasting, thats the only time I will sink a really expensive beer. In fact thats what I’d have bought it for.

    If I am in the pub its less practical to have a more expensive usually stronger beer, and less ociable. So in scenario order I am a 4, 2 and 1.

  13. Mostly 1 if cost equates to good value (I’ll buy slightly dearer beers regularly if I feel they are good value) with occasional forays into 2, where I really want to try something, regardless of the cost (but I draw the line at 17 EUR for a 330 ml bottle of oak-aged barley wine, despite those bastards at Braufactum making it look sooo good), with frequent forays into 5 (well, at the prices for a crate of regular beer here, it’s inevitable) 🙂

  14. A definite & enthusiastic 1. These 2s don’t know they’re born, and I suspect some of them are closet 3s. Won’t anyone think of the 4s? And the 5s, too – they’re my people, sort of, certainly more so than the 2a and 3s.

  15. Bailey, I see what you’re saying, but I think there is another significant group in there which have many more members than some of the ones that you listed.
    The people who know good beer from bad and who avoid the rubbish but can’t be bothered spending time and effort seeking out the best stuff. They don’t follow certain brands because of advertising. They know that drinking out costs a fortune but don’t let that fact from stopping them do it, but at the same time avoid the more pricier bars. It’s not all about getting drunk, but having a good time while out, so they tend to choose the nicer, safer pubs and bars rather than just choosing the places with better booze available, but these will tend to have a slightly better range than some of the others. Normal, young-ish social drinkers.
    I think that there’s a lot of them out there.

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