Craft Retail Dollars Up 20% On 18% Volume Growth During September/October

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Craft’s strong year off-premise has continued through the beginning of autumn. In the October 6th four-week scan data released by the IRI group on October 18th, craft volume accelerated, showing a 17.6% increase from the same period a year ago. That raised craft’s year-to-date volume increase up to 16.4%, up from 15.2% this summer. Craft retail dollars also increased by 20.0% for the period versus a year ago, and are up 18.7% year-to-date. All beer volume has recovered slightly from the summer, and is now down only -0.3% in volume YTD in the IRI numbers, up from being down -1.1% YTD in the June/July numbers.

Unlike gains during the summer, this month’s growth occurred without price cutting, as the price per case of craft in the IRI data increased 45 cents from the previous month, up to $34.12 during the four week period. Overall YTD prices are up 2.0% from the previous year, about a point above the U.S. inflation rate of 1.2% through September. The total beer category saw a slight price increase during the month of 16 cents versus the previous month, largely driven by the growing market share of craft and domestic super premium, and declines in the lower priced domestic premium and domestic sub-premium categories. Overall beer case prices are up 2.9% year-to-date.

For the four-week period, craft was up 0.8 share points for dollars and 0.6 share points for volume compared to a year ago. These are similar to the year-to-date numbers, where craft is up 0.8 share points in dollar sales and 0.5 share points in volume. The other gainers include domestic super premium and imports, which are collectively up 0.5 share points for dollars and 0.5 share points in volume. These increases have come at the expense of the low and middle sections of the beer industry (domestic premium, sub-premium, and malt liquor), together down -2.5 share points in dollars YTD versus a year ago and -1.9 share in volume.

In what now sounds like a broken record, craft’s growth was led by the IPA style, up 40.1% by volume against a YA during the 4-week period and 41.2% YTD. Entering its peak time of year, Seasonals had the highest dollar share for the four weeks at 22.9% dollar share, with IPA second at 17.9%, a gap of only 5%. For comparison, in the same period a year ago, Seasonals beat IPAs 25.6% to 16.3%, a gap of 9.3%. At this point, it seems highly likely that IPA will be the top style in IRI scan data for the year – dethroning Seasonals for the first time in recent memory. ‘Blonde, Kolsch, and other Golden Ales’ again showed it is a category to watch, with sales for the period up 77.6% on a year ago; the category is now up 79.1% by volume YTD. Variety packs also continued their strong run, up 25.7% in volume against a year ago for the period, and are up 21.3% by dollars, and 20.9% by volume for the year.

Here’s summary of these craft figures from the SIG report for Multi-Outlet and Convenience Stores:

  • 4 Weeks to October 6, 2013: 17.6% volume growth versus YA; 20.0% dollar growth. (All beer +2.0/+5.3)
  • Year-to-Date 2013: 16.4% volume growth; 18.7% dollar growth. (All beer -0.3/+2.5)
  • 52 Weeks to October 6, 2013: 15.8% volume growth; 18.4% dollar growth. (All beer -0.2/+2.6)
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