Craft beer brands are carving out a significant niche in the beer industry. Mass market favorites like Bud Light, Miller Lite, and Michelob have dominated grocery and convenience store shelves for years but are now making room for craft beer alternatives targeting a growing contingent of beer drinkers preferring the nuanced flavors of local brews.
But it’s not just the taste of craft beer that’s driving demand among enthusiasts. The brewers’ backstories add an interesting flair that appeals to the palette and instills pride in shopping local. Brewers like East LA native Ray Ricky Rivera, founder and brewer of Norwalk Brew House beer company and co-founder and operator of SCC Distribution Network. His career in music led to a craft beer revolution infusing cultural influences with Latino inspired flavors to create limited edition brews whose proceeds support under-resourced communities.
Yet despite success stories like Ricky’s, who along with six other homebrewers founded the largest Latino homebrew club in the United States, SoCal Cerveceros, a recent study by the Brewer’s Association sampling 500 randomly selected breweries show that only 2.2% of craft beer makers are Latino and 93.5% are Non-Hispanic White. However, according to Rivera, the opposite is true of craft beer drinkers. The industry is seeing a significant uptick in the number of people of color and women enjoying the taste of their local brew.
As the demographics in the United States continue to evolve, the growing influence of multicultural consumers will create more opportunities for Latino brands. But it all boils down to authenticity. Ethnic consumers are more likely to seek products that reflect their heritage, and Non-Hispanic White Millennials are embracing more ethnic flavors in the foods and beverages they consume, expanding the market for brands like Norwalk Brew House. Non-Latino owned brands attempting to enter the market with Latino inspired flavors should avoid stereotyping if they want to authentically connect with Hispanic consumers.
In this episode of The New Mainstream podcast, master brewer Ray Ricky Rivera delves into the Latino craft beer scene and shares how Norwalk Brew House delivers on its promise to make good beer to do good things.