Craft IPAs, variety packs showing solid sales growth in supermarkets

Sierra Nevada Torpedo at festival

Sierra Nevada Torpedo at festival via {a href=""}MacKinnon Photography{/a}

(Boulder, CO) – Here is part two of BeerPulse’s recap of Symphony IRI‘s beverage alcohol expert, Dan Wandel’s Brewers Association presentation. Part one can be found here.

Highlights of individual brand/style/package performance can be found 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.


Of the top 15 selling beer brands, only Michelob Ultra Light (5.7%) and Blue Moon Belgian White (14.7%) increased dollar sales from the prior year. It is easy to see why Anheuser-Busch wants to leverage Michelob Ultra Light as it enters the cider category later this year. Blue Moon Belgian White seems poised to hit $100 million in supermarket dollar sales in 2012.


The top ten craft beer brands lost 4% dollar market share against the craft category as a whole though more than half were still up double digits, led by Bell’s Brewery and Stone.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale has taken second place outright from Samuel Adams Boston Lager in dollar sales but remains behind Samuel Adams Seasonal.

Among the top 15 brands, other double-digit growers include Kona Longboard Lager and Samuel Adams variety packs. Sam Adams Light and Widmer Brothers Hefeweizen declined the most in terms of percentage.


Case sales of new beer brands, overall, were down for a third consecutive year and was only 1/3 of new case sales in 2008. Much of this is driven by a lack of innovative product introductions at the large domestic level (ABI, Miller, etc.). All of that despite the number of new beer brands having doubled since 2008…

Putting it further into perspective, MGD Light 64 Lemonade was the #3 top new brand and MillerCoors has already discontinued it. Shock Top Raspberry Wheat Ale was, by far, the #1 introduction with $6.5 million in sales.

Wandel is bullish on new beer brands in 2012 due, largely, to the introduction of Bud Light Platinum at the beginning of the year. Wandel predicts over five million case sales of new beer brands, topping 2008 when Anheuser-Busch introduced Bud Light Lime.

Kona Brewing’s variety packs were the top craft introduction with just over $2 million in sales. Bridgeport Kingpin Double Red Ale was the most successful launch for a single craft brand with $1 million in sales.


Craft can sales have multiplied by over 9x since 2008 with over $11.5 million in sales, but still have just a little over 1% share of category sales. There are now 54 breweries with 134 different can SKUs. Oskar Blues Dale’s Pale Ale 6pk is the top seller, followed by New Belgium Fat Tire 12pks and Shiner Bock 12pks. Gambrinus Company, buoyed by Shiner, is the top producer of craft cans.


IPA continues to be the hottest style in the segment with a 2.7% uptick in dollar share, up to 14.5%. While it still lags behind ‘seasonal’ (yes, it is considered a ‘style’ in industry analyses like this –think of it as a slot on the shelf next to other styles–), seasonals dropped 0.5% in dollar share. If trends hold, IPA may be the top selling style in craft by the end of 2013. Better contract those hops early…

Variety packs was the only other style in the top ten to grow significantly in terms of dollar share with a 1.2% increase.


Sierra Nevada Torpedo IPA (bottle launch: early 2009), RedHook Long Hammer IPA and New Belgium Ranger IPA (bottle launch: early 2010) were all among the top 15 selling craft brands in dollar sales. Torpedo and Ranger each grew 63%. Lagunitas IPA and Stone IPA rounded out the top five. Samuel Adams Latitude 48 IPA (bottle launch: fall 2010) had a strong year of growth and is likely right behind them.


One thought on “Craft IPAs, variety packs showing solid sales growth in supermarkets

  1. Pingback: Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Series variety pack beers revealed | BeerPulse

Leave a Reply