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Beer lovers are on the move … valuing quality and sustainability over quantity

In this post Guest Analyst Samantha Reed from CryptoCycle, pioneers of digital recycling, looks at our growing passion for craft beer and investigates whether beer drinkers are as passionate about sustainability and recycling.


The Australian beer industry is valued at $4.6bn annually.  Beer consumption is declining yet the industry is growing as beer lovers align themselves with more expensive craft brands, which they perceive to be higher quality.  Craft beer has an avid, predominately male following (79%) aged 30-39 (39%), with 91% visiting mainstream stores to purchase craft beer[1].  During the pandemic 93% of respondents agreed that ‘Australian breweries need our support more than ever.’[2]

The number of smaller breweries is on the rise. Their agility brings us a plethora of exciting new flavours and creative marketing opportunities but competition can make it challenging to retain loyalty and set themselves apart.  Something an increasing number have in common are their core sustainability values so we set out and we wanted to understand the importance of this to their followers.

We found that 72% of beer consumers surveyed agreed that the sustainable values of the brewers they buy from was important or very important.  Females were more likely to agree at 75%, followed by males at 69%.

Craft Beer Sustainability Importance


The results ranked generationally with Gen Z (18-24 year olds) finding it most important, followed by Millennials, Gen X and then Baby Boomers with a 13 point spread across the generations.

When asked about where and how they disposed of their craft/independent beer packaging, the top answer was putting it all in the recycling at home, followed closely by splitting into trash and recycling depending on the material.  9% of those surveyed said they put beer packaging in the trash bin at home with Gen Z (18-24 year olds) most likely and Baby Boomers least likely to dispose of it in the trash.

Not all packaging marked as recyclable can be recycled in our bins at home.  We wanted to know whether craft beer drinkers would take packaging back to store to be reused or recycled if there was an incentive to do so and 66% said they were likely or very likely to.

Millennials were most likely to, with 72% saying they would return packaging back to store if they were incentivized to do so.  Gen Z (18-24 year olds) were least likely to take packaging back to store and are least motivated by incentives (60%).


Craft Beer Packaging Recycle


When asked what incentives they would be most motivated by, the top answer was loyalty points to be redeemed against beers and this option was most popular with male Gen X (45-54 year olds) at 36%. Discounts were the second most popular form of incentive. 

Incentive for Beer packaging recycling

Climate change is one of the most concerning and urgent issues of our time, requiring collaboration throughout supply chains and mobilization of consumers to affect change.  With Reward4Waste brands have the opportunity to accelerate positive change by engaging consumers with their environmental impact through rewards. Through unique coding they can share their story, product provenance, social and environment values, dispelling concerns around greenwashing.  The data from this survey demonstrates that consumers are concerned about the climate and the sustainability values of the brands they purchase from.  They want to play their part, be guided on how and to receive rewards for doing good. 



[1] Statista – Craft beer in Australia – Statistics and facts – Published by Thomas Hinton, 9th Apr 2021

[2] – 2020 Australian Craft Beer Survey Results, 5th Nov 2020



Samantha Reed is Head of Business at Reward4Waste, CryptoCycle. 

CryptoCycle’s easy-to-use Reward4Waste app incentivises consumers to re-use and recycle, keeping items in the circular economy for longer.  Unique coding of products, AI and blockchain bring traceability, transparency and the opportunity for brands to engage consumers with their story and product provenance.