Utah Beer News is nearing its two-year anniversary. It officially launched during American Craft Beer Week 2018 (though I’d published a few posts prior to that).
Our 21st monthly e-newsletter hit inboxes last week. In it, I gave subscribers a first-look at what you’re about to read.
Since May 2018, I’ve had the opportunity to chat with brewers, breweries, and everyday imbibers who make up a vibrant Utah craft beer community.
Thanks to you, whom I’ve met at various beer-related events and local breweries, I’m getting a better sense of what matters to you, the Utah craft beer drinker.
To some extent, as I got my feet wet, I was flying blind in terms of covering what mattered to Utah craft beer drinkers. A survey in January 2019 helped guide the coverage. And the most recent survey — the one completed last month — provided even more insight.
We received 189 responses — three times as many as in 2019 — and a lot of excellent feedback. It’s clear Utah Beer News is hitting the mark in many areas. At the same time, I recognize there’s always room for improvement.
I’d like to share some of the key points from the survey. If you missed out, or you’d simply like to share additional comments, please don’t hesitate to let me know.
Utah Beer News: Survey Results
The survey ran Jan. 23-31, 2020 and we collected 189 responses via email and social media. Though it’s unscientific, I believe the survey provides a nice snapshot. Ages of respondents: 32% (25-34); 31% (35-44); 23% (45-54); 9% (55-64) 4% (65-74). Only three respondents were under age 25.
- UtahBeerNews.com site visit frequency is evenly split. 26% visit once a week, 25% visit at least once a month, and 29% visit less than once a month.
- 86% of respondents follow Utah Beer News on social media, while 54% subscribe to the monthly e-newsletter.
- Perhaps most eye-opening to me: I need to do a better job promoting the Utah Beer News Podcast. Nearly half of respondents (47%) said they didn’t know a Utah Beer News Podcast even existed (you can listen here, by the way). 20% occasionally listen and 11% rarely or never miss an episode.
- In terms of social media, most respondents prefer to receive beer-related content on Instagram (56%), followed by Facebook (33%).
- More than 40% of respondents ranked “Social Media Updates” as the No. 1 way to receive beer-related information online. “Written Article” was the next most-preferred. “Audio” and “Video” were the two least-preferred ways.
Beer News: Where & What
Publications in which respondents receive their local beer information (participants could select all that apply):
- Utah Beer News — 70%
- Utah Beer Blog — 54%
- City Weekly — 49%
- SLUG magazine — 31%
- The Salt Lake Tribune — 24%
- CraftyBeerGirls.com — 17%
- FOX-13 TV —13%
- Utah Stories magazine — 11%
- Radio — 8%
Topics you’d like to read about on Utah Beer News, ranked in order:
- Breaking news (i.e. new beer releases, brewery openings) — 50% ranked this as their top choice
- Beer reviews (i.e. tasting notes)
- Brewery profiles
- Local politics (i.e. liquor laws)
- Homebrewer profiles
- Non-Utah beer information
Favorite Beer Styles & Local Breweries
- Favorite Beer Style (percentages rounded):
- IPA — 20%
- Hazy IPA — 14%
- Stout —14%
- Pale Ale — 10%
- Pilsner — 9%
- Saison — 7%
- Sour — 7%
- Amber — 5%
- Hefeweizen — 3%
- Porter — 3%
- Other — 7% (several mentioned various lagers)
- Favorite Local Brewery (28 different breweries were mentioned, up from 19 last year. Total mentions in parentheses):
- Fisher (25)
- Kiitos (23)
- T.F. (22)
- 2 Row (11)
- SaltFire (8)
- Bohemian, Level Crossing, Shades, Uinta, Wasatch (7)
- Epic, Hopkins (6)
- Red Rock, Roosters, Squatters (5)
- Talisman (4)
- Bonneville, Proper, UTOG (3)
- Desert Edge, Moab, Strap Tank, Toasted Barrel (2)
- Bewilder, Policy Kings, Silver Reef, RoHa, Zion (1)
Talkin’ About Trends
Two optional questions involved beer trends. One asked what beer-related trend respondents were most excited about. Another wondered which trend they wished would go away. Here’s how that shook out. Each question received about 160 or so responses.
Beer Trend I’m Excited About
- 16% said they are excited about the availability of sour beers.
- 12% listed Hazy or Juicy IPA as a trend they are excited about.
- Several respondents mentioned they were excited about more craft beer options available in grocery and convenience stores, thanks to the Nov. 2019 law change.
- About 10 people mentioned that they’re excited about brewers returning to basics in beer. And another eight specifically highlighted “lagers” as a trend they’re enjoying.
- Another 10 respondents said they like the barrel-aging trend.
- A handful of people mentioned breweries doing experimental brews and collaborating with other local breweries.
- Only one person mentioned “hard seltzers” as something they’re excited about — though another four people said “low calorie” beers are a trend they’re on board with.
Beer Trend I Wish Would Go Away
- While 16% said they were excited about sour beers, 16% also said they wish sours would go away.
- 16% aren’t fans of “beer that’s not beer,” as one person said. I lumped various adjunct-focused responses — pastry stouts, milkshake, glitter, lactose, overly fruited, etc. — into this group.
- 12% of people who answered this question said they can’t think of any trends they wish would go away.
- 9% of respondents wish breweries would focus less on Hazy IPAs (and 11% aren’t fans of IPAs in general, though some qualified that as they’re not fans of “overly hoppy” IPAs).
- 7% of people singled out “hard seltzers” as a trend they wish would go away.
- And my personal favorite, a couple of respondents specifically said they wish “beer snobbery” would go away. I’m all for that one as well.
The survey allowed respondents to share any additional thoughts or opinions they have about Utah Beer News or the Utah craft beer scene in general. Here are a few I found to be valuable or otherwise insightful:
- I wish there was more of a focus on the growing craft beer world in Southern Utah. They are making some big changes from nothing down here and there are never highlights, articles, spotlights, etc. — Tim: I agree. I’ll definitely make a point to hit up Southern Utah breweries in the future.
- Been a follower for quite a while. I love the podcast episodes where you and a buddy just discuss beer to bring to parties. Good stuff. — Tim: Great! We’ll have another one for you in March.
- Can you please give actual reviews and beer critiques vs. being a cheerleader for local brewers? — Tim: I aim to take a “brand journalism” approach to coverage. If there’s a beer story that directly impacts the beer-drinking public, and I’m aware of it, I’ll do my best (time-permitting) to investigate. In terms of beer critiques, all palates are different and mine is far from perfect. I’ll share my opinion but I tend to avoid publicly bashing a specific beer if I dislike it (or excessively hyping a beer if I love it).
- I love updates about upcoming breweries and beers. I’m hoping that Utah will begin to have more events like the Utah Brewers Guild Fest.
- The beer scene in Utah has become stale. — Tim: I definitely disagree with this statement, especially without specifics to back it up. But to each their own.
It’s incredible to see so many folks visiting the site regularly. Thank you. For me, it’s invaluable to get clarity on what topics interest you most. I’ll definitely keep that in mind as we plan future coverage.
While I can’t write about every new beer release (Mikey on the Utah Beer Blog, in my opinion, remains the definitive resource on that front), I’ll do my best to incorporate new beer releases into the coverage.
That said, if breweries want to give me a heads-up on new beers, or share any news releases or other information, feel free to email me directly.
Above all, our mission remains the same:
Utah Beer News strives to share stories important to the Utah craft beer community.
Thank you for welcoming us into your community.
Incidentally, Congratulations to Ryan Caggiano, Michael Dudley, Jennifer Reed, and Steve Sprague. They completed the survey and had their names chosen to receive Utah Beer News prize packs.
The prize packs included a gift card to Slackwater Pizzeria & Pub, a gift card to each winner’s favorite brewery, as listed on the survey (two mentioned Fisher, one T.F., and one Roosters), a piece of brewery merchandise, and a beer review logbook.
Are You Subscribed?
I like to give away stuff to Utah Beer News e-newsletter subscribers. It’s also the spot where I share news and notes you won’t find on my other social sites.
If you’re not yet subscribed, it’s easy to do so.
I currently send out one email each month and promise not to use your email for anything other than communicating the latest Utah Beer News.
Thank you again for your support! 🍻