New flavors, creations push beer toward high-end

Higher-end products are where the beer category is headed. “We’re seeing a lot of high-end segments continuing to steer the ship,” said Dan Wandel, SVP at IRI. “We’re seeing higher-priced products driving the category.”

(For the full category review, including sales data, click here.)

The specialty segment, which includes such super-premium brands as Blue Moon, Shock Top and Land Shark, has been strong with volume sales ahead 13% and dollar sales up 15% for the 52 week period ended June 30.

“What’s really driving the super-premium segment is innovation,” Wandel said. “Last year was an incredible year for the innovation in the category with some massive launches. Bud Light Platinum has been one of the biggest introductions not just in the category but also in the industry, and Lime-A-Rita was another huge success. The question is whether or not innovation can continue to keep the pace.”

Progressive adult beverages, such as Smirnoff Ice and Mike’s Hard Lemonade, also have had significant increases with dollar sales, ahead 75% while volume sales increased 65%.

“Consumers are clearly showing a preference for bolder flavor profiles across all categories,” Wandel said.

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