Craft Volumes Up Over 20 Percent in Scan to Labor Day

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As summer winds down, Americans continue their rapid shift toward the beers from craft brewers, choosing full flavored India pale ales as their solution for what to drink during summer occasions.

Craft beer pricing softened in the latest 4-week period compared to the early August numbers. For the scan period ending August 7 pricing gains were at a level of 39 cents per case. Pricing growth for the period dropped back to 14 cents per case compared to this time last year. All beer pricing grew at 55 cents per case in the 4-week period, showing that craft pricing at retail is not growing as quickly as other segments.

Craft volume growth took a big jump. Craft volume was up 20.7% against the previous month’s growth of 15.7%. After a slight dip in the August scans, craft resumed the longer trend of accelerating growth  Overall beer sales flattened, declining 0.1% in volumes.

Two high-profile flavored malt beverages had big declines. Phusion Projects, owners of the Four Loko brands, dropped 27 percent compared to last year. United Brands, known for its Joose label, was down 61 percent. Ouch. Both of these entities reformulated their product line since the FDA required the removal of caffeine additions last fall.

Craft Pricing

4 Weeks to September 4, 2011–up 14 cents per case.

Year to Date 2011–up 32 cents per case

52 Weeks (September 2010-September 2011)–up 36 cents per case.

Here’s a rundown of some of the other craft figures from the SIG report for food/drug and convenience stores.

4 Weeks to September 4, 2011–20.7% volume growth; 21.3% dollar growth. (All beer -0./+2.7)

Year to Date 2011–15.1% volume growth; 16.3% dollar growth. (All beer -0.7/+1.8)

52 Weeks (August 2010-August 2011)–14.9% volume growth; 16.2% dollar growth. (All beer -0.9/+1.6)

Craft gained 0.5 share points over the scan period by volume and 0.8 share points of dollars. Imports gained 0.5 share points of volume and 0.6 share points of dollars. Domestic superpremium picked up 0.4 share points of both. The share was taken from domestic premium and domestic subpremium, confirming recent trends.

India pale ale continued to be the fastest growing beer style, gaining 3 share points within craft and showing 53 percent growth as a style in scans. Impressive. Seasonal beers and variety packs also performed very well. Good news for India pale ale brewers–excellent weather conditions for hop growth in the main hop growing regions at the end of July and through August turned the tables on yield per acre for hop growers, which should aid availability after the harvest and drying are complete.

Paul Gatza

September 15, 2011

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