The microtrend of microbreweries

Brekeriet, Lilla ölfabriken, Klackabackens bryggeri, Odd brewing, Pang Pang, Kullabrygg, Beerbliotek, Sad Robot Brewing… the list can be made long – 130 brands long to be exact. Because that is how many microbreweries excisting in Sweden’s craft beer community today (Sveriges Bryggerier, 2016). Beer has become a cultural beverage in the country. So called ‘beer cafés’ pops up and so do the breweries own pubs.. and the thirsty request for high quality beer from swedes does just seem to grow.

As you might have noticed, this article has a swedish perspective – even if the trend itself is spread across the world. Hopefully you as a reader can compare the trend of microbreweries in Sweden with an excisting similar trend in your country.  

We all know that beer is a superold beverage. So how can it be a trend really?
Well first of all, the history tells us that a beverage with similar ingredients to what we today call beer, was drunk back 7000 years ago. During the late 19th century, around 500 breweries were in production in Sweden, and in 1990’s they had reduced to a number of 20 (Sveriges Bryggerier, 2016). But as an old tradition the trend is now on a faster rise than ever before. (Sveriges Bryggerier, 2016). In the 1970’s an amendment of swedish law licensed breweries to sell beer directly to restaurants and the using conditions were then easier to manage. The business increased and the local markets quickly improved. 2010 was the year when the market of microbreweries exploded (Företagarna, 2016) and today there are about 250 professional breweries in Sweden found from south to north – both in the countryside and in the urban areas. Half of them counts as microbreweries. (Företagarna, 2016)

Experts in the field claim the microbreweries are a rising trend in Sweden. The reason is the combination of the growing curiousity and knowledge among the swedish consumers and all the perceptive and competent breweries out there, making creative and qualitative recipes. The product supply from microbreweries in Sweden has never been as strong and broad as it is today. (Sveriges Bryggerier, 2016)

The government of Sweden has monopoly of selling alcoholic beverages, which is done through a store called ‘Systembolaget’ (Government, Offices of Sweden, 2015). In september 2014 ‘Systembolaget’ changed their rules for their selection of small-scale produced and handcrafted products, as an answear to the increase of both producers and consumers of those products (Systembolaget, 2014). All small-scale breweries therefore are guaranteed their products will be available in up to ten stores of ‘Systembolaget’, and in a radius of 15 swedish miles from the point of production – depending on dimension of cosumers request. (Systembolaget, 2016). This can be seen as a security for the smallest breweries to become known and consumed in their area.

If you look at the trend pyramide I would claim that the increase of microbreweries in Sweden is a microtrend (Trend Set Go, 2012). It is a result of a few mesotrends and they in their turn orginates from megatrends found in society. The interesting mesotrends in this case are 1) the trend of doing it yourself and 2) the trend of local production. The so called DIY-generation consists of millenials developing their ideas, brands and positions out of a consumer based perspective. And the result is an increase of startup companies. (Millenial Marketing, 2013) About the trend of local production, more and more people aim to live according to the “think globally, act locally,”- strategy. Local products are mostly regarded to have a higher quality (Euro Monitor, 2014). I think these two mesotrends are examples of the result of the environmental trend growing larger in the world, which I claim definitely is a megatrend of today.

Furthermore, I consider the trend of microbreweries to be very close to the peak of its lifecycle, as the life length of a microtrend tends to be quite short, 0-5 years (Ponten. H, 2016) The number of microbreweries in Sweden are still growing, but I think we soon will see some of them disapear in the grownd when the competition on the market will get too heavy. On the other hand there are microbreweries in Sweden which has the aim to reach a bigger market, to climb out of Systembolaget’s shelfs of small-scale produced and handcrafted products – with the aim to go international. Hopefully a few of them will succeed so people out in Europe can drink these tasty beers, that once was only small-scale produced in microbreweries in Sweden.

I understand it can be a bit motiveless for you to make a reflect on “just” the trend of microbreweries in Sweden. But now when you have read this article, maybe you can reflect on the beer culture in your country.. is there a similar trend excisting? How does it differ from this one?


Reference list:

Euro Monitor. (2014). Why the consumer preference for thing local. Retrieved 2016-09-12, from

Företagarna. (2016). Ölboom i Jämtland. Retrieved 2016-09-12, from

Företagarna. (2016). 130 mikrobryggerier. Retrieved 2016-09-12, from

Government, Offices of Sweden. (2015). Swedish Alcohol Retailing Monopoly (Systembolaget Aktiebolag). Retrieved 2016-09-12, from–systembolaget-aktiebolag/

Millennial Marketing. (2013). Generation Y has become generation DIY. Retrieved 2016-09-12, from

Ponten, H. (2016). Lecture 2: Trends and Brands [PDF document]. Retrieved 2016-09-08,from

Sveriges Bryggerier (2016). Den svenska ölkulturen. Retrieved 2016-09-12, from

Sverige Bryggerier. (2016). Bryggerier. Retrieved 2016-09-12, from

Systembolaget. (2014). Nya regler för lokalt och småskaligt producerade drycker från 1 september. Retrieved 2016-09-12, from

Systembolaget. (2016) Lokala drycker på Systembolaget. Retrieved 2016-09-12, from

TrendSetGo. (2012). Trend Pyramids. Retrieved 2016-09-12, from


2 thoughts on “The microtrend of microbreweries

  1. Reaction of Evaline Vlaanderen

    Question: But now when you have read this article, maybe you can reflect on the beer culture in your country.. is there a similar trend excisting? How does it differ from this one?

    To answer the question boldly: yes, in the Netherlands there is a similar trend when it comes to small businesses brewing their own beer and selling it locally.

    To name a personal experience: in my hometown Apeldoorn, close to my parents house there was a local beer shop that you could invest in and profit from after 2 years. I think the idea behind this is quite good for the community, as it is a social way to invest in local retailers that involves drinking a beer with each other from time to time.

    A century ago local beer brewing was big business in Holland. But when the industrialization came, many of these had gone extinct. This means this trend in the Netherlands is not new, but it is a reoccurring trend. I think people are more aware / interested to know of where their food comes from and want to learn to produce themselves. In fact, the emergence of locally brewed beer fits into a renewed appreciation for all things small, authentic, and microbrews. City farms and city markets react on this trend by being against industrially produced food, and invest in local producers. (NRC, September 2016)

    Together there are more than 400 breweries in the Netherlands that have taken about 20 percent of the beer market of multinationals such as Heineken and Amstel. (FD, August 2016) The difference between Holland and Sweden is that we have no state run shop that has a monopoly on alcohol. This difference will make it easier for Dutch brewers to sell their beer anywhere they like.

    I think the future for this trend can be a hard one, as it is not easy to go from hobby to professional brewing in Holland. There are all kinds of aspects you need to take into account such as excise and investments. It will also be interesting to see how the multinational giants will react to this, as they are losing money. An interesting next thought could be what kind of concept the big companies could think of to battle the micro breweries and increase sales.

    Reference list:

    Frank de Kruif, NRC, (September 2016), Wedergeboorte van lokaal bier
    Retrieved from:

    De Groot & Molenaar, Financieel Dagblad, (August 2016), Kleine bieren worden groot
    Retrieved from:


  2. To your question yes the Netherlands does have a similar trend. Micro brewing has been pretty popular in the Netherlands these last few years. It may not be as big as in Sweden but its certainly popular right now.

    But I also saw that this trend was big on the other side of the Atlantic. When visiting San Francisco you nearly got bombarded whit all kinds of local brews. Pretty much every street had one and if you didn’t then you don’t belong to the hip crowds. Small Café selling their one unique beer.

    This trend fits well whit the usual do it yourself. The hipster culture loves it and how hipper you city is the more breweries you got.

    Do I think this trend has a future? Maybe hard to tell is there profit to be made than sure probably. I personally don’t think it will last a lifetime maybe a couple of years. But I could be completely wrong its simply hard to tell where this is going.

    However the big companies have certainly noticed look at the grolsch kornuit commercial young man (whit beards off course) brewing there own beer. Clearly trying to represent the microbreweries. So it probably already had a clear impact on the beer market.


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