Craft beers — particularly seasonals — have provided much-needed innovation to the beer category, providing the category with double-digit sales increases for the last several years. Craft brews’ sales were up 16.2% for the 52 weeks ended in early October 2011, according to the Brewers Association. While craft brews represent 4.9% of total beer category volume, the segments accounts for 7.6% of retail dollar volume.
Seasonals and variety pack sales “continue to explode,” according to Dan Wandel, SVP beverage alcohol client solutions at SymphonyIRI Group. Craft seasonal, craft India pale ales and craft pale ales held the top three best-selling craft beer positions in supermarkets in 2011, according to SymphonyIRI data. Variety packs, amber ale, amber lager, wheat, bock and fruit beers also made the top 10 list of best-selling craft beers.
Wandel does see some weakness in the craft segment due to a proliferation of SKUs, increased competition from Anheuser-Busch and Coors, and higher pricing. Increased competition in this highly competitive segment, Wandel said, already has challenged sales growth for large craft brewers. The Brewers Association noted that higher pricing in the craft segment already has led to some growth deceleration.
The article above is part of the DSN Category Review Series. For the complete Beverages Buy-In Report, including extensive charts, data and more analysis, click here.