IPAs Up 42% YTD

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The latest four-week and year-to-date craft brewer sales scan data is out from Symphony IRI Group (SIG) today. The top two craft beer “styles,” pale ale and “seasonals,” both showed nice growth of just under 9 percent by dollars in the grocery, drug and convenience channels. And both have lost nearly 1 share of the craft segment by styles. India Pale Ales have picked up 2.7 more share points of craft to now comprise 14.3 share of scanned sales. At this pace, IPAs will pass seasonals and pale ales in 2012 or 2013 to become the most popular style area for craft. Yes, we Americans are discovering how much we like our hops and very flavorful beers.

India pale ales are up 43.2% in dollars year-to-date, and case sales are up 40.5% so far. Perhaps it is time that IRI started to look at tracking both IPAs and Imperial IPAs.Overall, scanned craft sales are up 14.3% in dollars so far this year and 12.7% in volume. Craft growth continues to accelerate.

SIG currently places each brand they track into 1 of 28 style buckets. So far this year 6 of those style buckets are showing lower sales, and the other 22 are growing.

Here are the top 10 fastest growing styles by percentage in scanned case sales year to date:

1. Stout  +61%

2. Pilsner  +49%

3. IPA  +40%

4. Other Pale Lager  +38%

5. Variety Packs +30%

Eight other style buckets show over 20% growth year to date:  strong ales, other specialties, unknown, Belgian style ales, blond/kolsch/other golden, scottish, golden ales and barleywines.

I find it interesting to see craft pilsners and other pale lagers on the fastest growing list. Is that coming from previously non-craft drinkers wanting to explore the lighter styles in the craft segment or from those in the segment looking to enjoy a pale lager from time to time? Likely a little of both as well as the occasional wine or spirits drinker.

Thirsty yet? I am.

Paul Gatza

April 28, 2011



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