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Saturday, June 06, 2009

Craft Beer Segment Still Growing

This item, now over two weeks old, nearly escaped my attention. I can find no other sources reporting it--strange, given what good news it is. The upshot--craft brewing is holding its own in the recession.
Throughout the U.S. beer industry, overall shipments from brewers have declined 3 percent year-to-date compared with the previous year, said Benj Steinman, president of the trade publication Beer Marketer's Insights. Import shipments have declined 19.3 percent, with domestic shipments down 1.8 percent....

For the 52 weeks that ended on March 9, craft beer sales rose 12.6 percent from the previous 52-week period, compared with 3 percent for all beer, according to data from market researchers the Nielsen Company.
The report is a little confusing--craft beer sales are up, but they don't mention craft beer shipments. For other segments, shipments are down marginally. So it's unclear whether increased profits come from increased prices. (And indeed, based on my extremely anecdotal experience, prices are definitely up from a year ago.) Still, it looks like good news.

We'll have to wait to see more recent numbers to see if the trend is continuing. But we'll take provisionally good news where we can find it.


  1. From a report by the Brewers Association: Total craft brewer barrels for 2008 was 8,493,765, up from 8,017,105 barrels in 2007. (not a precise correlation to the reported statistics as the above is calendar year and the report by Beer Marketers Insights is for the year ending March 9. What kind of a crazy fiscal year is that, anyway?)

    That increase is just shy of 6%. All other things being equal, the rise in sales volume would have to be attributed to an increase in the selling price on average.

    I share the same opinion that craft beer prices are up and my source is nothing more than a trip to the store. It's not uncommon to see prices for a six-pack of [insert brewery name] north of $8.00. You might get it for less with your "loyalty" card or if you buy two six packs. But, that is a fairly steep price compared to just a year or two ago. Hasn't stopped me from buying, but it has caught my attention.

    Anecdotal evidence or otherwise, that pint is becoming more dear.
    Good news for the industry? Time to drink to their health. Consumer costs up? Time to drink away the troubles.

  2. A slight correction. It was the Nielsen Company that reported a 12.6% increase craft beer sales. I still don't understand the fiscal year.

  3. I yell at all my co-workers for drinking macros such as "natti-ice", and others... I have turned many on to other great local crafts... I feel as though I am doing my part... are you? (Not Alworth... for gods sake.. he takes a few of your parts..)