Pumpkin beer can trace its origins back to 1985, when Buffalo Bill’s Brewery created the first commercially released pumpkin ale in the United States, said Jim McCune, executive director of the craft beverage division at ECG Group.
In the time since, “pumpkin beer went from a brewing experiment to a seasonal beer phenomenon,” McCune said.
Pumpkin beer sales rose steadily beginning in 2005, spiked in 2013, dipped in 2014, and reached an all-time low in 2015.
Data from Nielsen showed that seasonal brews account for 18 percent of craft beer sales, and pumpkin-flavored brews make up an estimated 10 percent of the craft beer market.
On the cause of this decline, McCune said, “‘The Great Pumpkin Backlash’ occurred in 2015 when the combination of fewer people drinking pumpkin beer combined with breweries increasing their pumpkin beer production.”