Nielsen: Mainstream Domestic, Imported Beer Sales Remain Sluggish While Crafts Soar
The U.S. beer market continues to struggle, according to the latest numbers from Nielsen. Off-premise volumes declined 1.9% in the most recent 52-week period (ending November 12) to 1.38 billion cases. The outlook appeared brighter on a value basis, as dollar sales inched up 0.6% to $28.6 billion during the same time period. The average price of beer in the off-premise increased 2.4% to $19.82 a case.
Craft and specialty brews continue to be the most vibrant segment in the beer category, surging 16.6% by volume in the 52-week period, with even stronger value growth (+17.8%) on an average price of $31.80 a case. The craft/microbrew segment is priced higher, on average, than imported brands ($27.59), yet imports fell 0.6% by volume during the same time span. Mexico continues to be the largest-selling origin for imported brews off-premise, at 78.7 million cases (+0.4%), but the fastest-growing source was Belgium (+28.9%).
Domestic beer sales posted a 2.1% decline in the 52-week period, with the super-premium ($24.12 a case) and below-premium ($14.71) segments falling 4.5% and 4.2% by volume, respectively. Even domestic light beers fared worse than the industry average, down 2.9% during the same period.
Nielsen tracks beer sales in food/drug/liquor/convenience stores and other channels, with volumes accounting for just over half the size of the total U.S. beer market, as measured by Impact Databank.
My Ten Cents
I’ve come up with a ton of theories in the past on why I believe that craft beer is heating up now more then ever. I still go with people really want to have a beer that describes them. Budweiser, Coors, Miller just doesn’t cut it anymore. When it’s hot out you want a nice pale ale or a wit. If it’s cold then you want a stout. My generation, “In there 20s and 30s” can and will customize everything about everything. We have phones with personalized ring tones, we have our computer desktop of with a one of a kind picture, being different is a pretty big thing to us (generally speaking of course). Why would it stop at our beer?
To me craft beer and home brewing are pretty much rolled into one. Maybe that is just me but craft and homebrew it’s high quality ingredients, a wide range of them as well as the love and care that that went into the recipe which is what makes a craft/homebrew so good. Thought it was an interesting article, hope you feel the same.
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