Homebrewers Survey Serves Up Valuable Data on the Hobby

Results from an recent survey helped the American Homebrewers Association paint a picture of the homebrewing community—and gain insights that could guide future programs and fuel membership growth.

The average homebrewer is a 40-year-old married man who is well-educated and well-off financially, according to a survey released last week by the American Homebrewers Association.

From the results of the “Who Is the American Homebrewer?” survey, AHA estimated that 1.2 million homebrewers in the United States brew more than 2 million barrels of beer each year—nearly equivalent to the total production of the Samuel Adams brand.

AHA has surveyed homebrewers in the past, but this most recent project was the first to extend beyond its membership. The high response rate the survey received—18,000 surveys were filled out in just over a month, 35 percent of which came from nonmembers—was made possible thanks to the organization’s recent efforts at building relationships with retailers in the industry, according to AHA Director Gary Glass.

“Our membership is individual homebrewers, but we’ve been working more closely with the retailers ever since the association that used to represent the business side went down a few years ago,” said Glass. “We felt that this was the point in time that we could utilize that relationship to get this survey out to their customers, and the results are going to provide useful data for everyone.”

By opening the survey up to the broader homebrewing community, AHA learned some new things about the hobby that will help influence future decision making, Glass said.

“We’ve known homebrewing is very male-dominated, and the male response-rate of 94 percent wasn’t very surprising. But 30 percent of respondents indicated that they were participating in the hobby with a spouse or a domestic partner, which would indicate that female participation in the hobby is much greater than what we had previously thought,” he said. “There is this segment of women that are in the hobby that we had no idea existed prior to this survey. So it’s using that kind of data to perhaps change our programs or change our marketing strategies.”

Glass said the survey allowed the group to identify differences between AHA members and nonmembers.

“We were surprised to learn that there weren’t a lot of differences between the two groups, but the ones that exist are what you might expect—people who are not quite as experienced or who are younger are probably less likely to join the association,” he said.

“I might interact with some of our members over the phone and via email, but we have 40,000 members, so there’s only so much that I can know,” said Glass. “Doing this kind of survey gives us an opportunity to go beyond that limited number and get a sense of where the hobby as a whole that we represent is, what different directions it might be going in, and being more data-driven in our decision making.”


Rob Stott

By Rob Stott

Rob Stott is a contributing editor for Associations Now. MORE

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