Is craft beer stronger than regular beer?

4 min read
11 November 2023

The world of beer is rich and diverse, with options ranging from mass-produced lagers to artisanal craft brews. A common perception among beer enthusiasts is that craft beer tends to be stronger than regular beer. In this exploration, we'll delve into the factors that contribute to this perception, examining the alcohol content in both craft and regular beers to determine if there's a definitive difference.

Defining Craft Beer and Regular Beer:

Craft beer is often associated with small-scale, independent breweries that prioritize quality, flavor, and innovation. Regular beer, on the other hand, refers to the mass-produced beers from larger breweries that often follow traditional styles.

The Influence of Alcohol by Volume (ABV):

Alcohol by volume (ABV) is a standard measure used to quantify the alcohol content in beer. Craft breweries, known for their creativity and willingness to experiment, may produce beers with a higher ABV to create bold and complex flavor profiles. Regular beers, designed for mass consumption, often adhere to more moderate ABV levels.

Craft Brewers' Embrace of Higher ABV Styles:

Craft brewers frequently explore styles with higher ABV, such as Double IPAs, Imperial Stouts, and Belgian Tripels. These styles showcase the brewer's artistry, creativity, and ability to produce beers with alcohol content exceeding the average regular beer.

Diverse Range of Regular Beers:

While regular beers from large breweries are often associated with lower ABV, it's important to recognize the diverse range within this category. Regular beers include lagers, ales, and light beers, each with its own alcohol content. Light beers, in particular, are known for their lower ABV to cater to a broader audience seeking a more sessionable drinking experience.

Consumer Preferences and Market Trends:

Consumer preferences play a crucial role in shaping the beer market. As craft beer gained popularity, there was a noticeable shift towards beers with bolder flavors and higher ABV. Craft breweries responded by producing a wide array of styles, including those with elevated alcohol content, to meet the demand for diverse and impactful drinking experiences.

Brewing Techniques and Ingredients:

Craft brewers often employ unique brewing techniques and experimental ingredients, including specialty malts, hops, and yeast strains, that can contribute to higher alcohol content. In contrast, regular beers may prioritize consistency and mass appeal, leading to a more standardized brewing approach.

Session Beers:

Regular beers often include sessionable styles designed for extended drinking sessions without overwhelming the palate or causing excessive intoxication. Session beers typically have lower ABV, making them suitable for socializing and casual consumption.


While the perception that craft beer is stronger than regular beer holds true in many cases, it's important to recognize the diversity within each category. Craft brewers, driven by a passion for innovation, often produce beers with higher ABV to cater to the demand for bold and unique flavors. Regular beers, on the other hand, encompass a wide range of styles, some of which are deliberately crafted for lower alcohol content to appeal to a broader audience. The alcohol content in both craft and regular beers is ultimately influenced by the brewer's intent, consumer preferences, and the evolving dynamics of the beer market.

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