(Boulder, CO) – Symphony IRI‘s beverage alcohol expert, Dan Wandel, gave a presentation late last week, breaking down all sorts of 2011 beer category stats in the supermarket and chain channels. BeerPulse has provided a some highlights below. Note that Symphony IRI’s definition of craft includes Magic Hat, Goose Island, RedHook, etc. and these stats primarily come from scan data in supermarkets, specifically.
1. OVERALL BEER CATEGORY HEALTH:
The beer category, overall, declined 1.9% in volume sales and grew 1% in dollar sales versus a year ago. The numbers are similar to what we saw in 2010 and reflect AB and Miller having continued to raise prices for the flagship brands. Wine grew slightly in both volume and dollar sales and spirits had its best growth year since 2006.
“Super premiums,” meaning brands like Shock Top and Blue Moon, were up 6% overall in dollar sales and imports were up 2%.
2. CRAFT CATEGORY HEALTH:
Craft continues to be the healthiest alcohol segment. Dollar share of 10.8% is double what its share was just six years ago and Wandel thinks that 12% is attainable by year’s end. Having gained $124 million in dollar sales, up 15% from the prior year, sales were nearly $1 billion. With that in mind, it is worth noting that Wandel’s supermarket analysis only accounts for approximately 11% of nearly $9 billion in total craft dollar sales.
Yuengling was up 25% in sales in 2011 due to a hugely successful launch in Ohio. In the most recent 13-week period, Symphony IRI data shows that Yuengling has a 12.3% share of total beer volume and dollar sales in Ohio.
Cider continues to grow dramatically picking up a 28% dollar increase off of a small base, albeit with increasing velocity. Vermont Hard Cider Company (Woodchuck) and C&C Group (Hornsby’s, etc.) account for more than 90% of the $48 million in cider sales.
5. PRIVATE LABEL:
Private label sales were up 44% to more than $35 million in dollar sales in 2011 in the FOOD/DRUG/CONVENIENCE channel. Sales are most heavily concentrated in the Southwest (LA, Phoenix and San Diego). Double Take IPA, Double Take Amber Ale and Barrel Trolley Pale Ale were among the top new private label brands. These accounted for some of the top new brands in the craft category, overall, not just private label.
Stella Artois is the #1 momentum beer brand and is poised to sell one million barrels in the U.S. for the first time ever in the U.S. (presumably across all channels?).
6. DRUG STORE CHANNEL:
Unit sales increased 2% in drug stores, outpacing other channels, yet craft breweries are behind in working this channel. Domestic specialties like Blue Moon grew in the high double digits and even triple digits in some markets. Wandel said that the health of flagships was important for the craft segment and that breweries need to do a better job of growing those flagships in the underdeveloped channel.
7. A FEW SHINING STARS IN CRAFT:
With so many breweries up double digits, Wandel highlighted several that had extraordinarily successful years in the food category. Here is a short list of some that grew triple digits in certain regions and those who shined in a region away from their home:
21st Amendment Brewery – up 321% in the West
Bear Republic – up 118% in the West
Thirsty Dog – up 183% in North Central
Michigan Brewing – up 112% in North Central
Matt Brewing, Bell’s Brewery and Stone Brewing – up 20-30% in the South
Is there a region with more opportunity to grow large craft breweries than the Southeast? Probably not.
8. CRAFT GROWING IN MATURE MARKETS:
Wandel presented some market data for the food channel. Craft still manages to be growing strong in mature markets like Portland and Seattle, each of which have around 30% dollar share. More importantly, dollar share is 10x domestic specialty in these areas and craft is still taking more share than domestic specialty each year. The same applies to key markets in California like San Francico (Los Angeles was excluded).
It was a good Super Bowl for beer overall with numbers trending upward a bit from recent years, especially in the FOOD/DRUG/CONVENIENCE channels. Wandel is hopeful that we have seen the beer category bottom out.
For craft, signs seem to be pointing to another double digit year. While growth in January sales and Super Bowl sales were down from 2011, the November and December 2011 holiday season sales were the strongest in years. So there may be a correlation there, at least with January. Wandel didn’t semm too concerned with drawing comparisons against last year with those numbers, re-iterating that 12% dollar share is attainable in 2012.
In Part Two, we will look at specific brand trends. Coming Wednesday afternoon…