FoodBevBiz

News highlights, market trends, and original data analysis related to the U.S. retail food & beverage industry … by Jay Nargundkar

The Most Popular Domestic, Import, & Craft Beers in America

A couple weeks ago, The Atlantic had a wonderful summary of an in-depth study on the U.S. beer industry conducted by Beverage Digest. There are all sorts of interesting stats and trend info in there, but a few things in particular stood out.

  • Rise of import brews and craft beer: while case sales of big domestic beers was down 1.3% last year, import case sales rose 4.5%, and craft beers a hefty 16.6%; among top imports, the fastest growers are Modelo, Dos Equis, and Stella Artois (all of whom have had big marketing campaigns lately); among craft beers, Lagunitas sales were up 84%!
  • Michelob Ultra Light bucks the trend: an increase in case sales of 6.5%, and sales in dollar up 10.6%, indicating customers are buying more at a higher price point
  • At the end of the day, the big boys are still king: AB InBev (maker of Budweiser) and MillerCoors (maker of… well, you know) still dominate the industry; Bud Light, America’s #1 beer, alone sells almost twice as many cases as the entire import industry; it sells almost 30 times as much as Sam Adams, the leading craft brewer

Below, the data from the Atlantic summary is presented in one handy infographic summarizing the state of beer in the United States (click to enlarge):

beer-chart-2013-sales-cases

 Will Gordon on Deadspin had this interesting factoid on the resurgence of craft beer:

A huge wave of post-WWII brewing-industry consolidation killed the stylistic diversity and market competition that makes for great beer. There were fewer than 100 American breweries left by the late 1970s, but now we’re back up over 2,500, and the new ones are almost universally superior to the holdovers from the Carter-era nadir of American suds production.

For the record, what qualifies as “craft” beer? Brewers Association, a trade group, states the most current definition of the term:

An American craft brewer is small, independent and traditional.

Small: Annual production of 6 million barrels of beer or less (approximately 3 percent of U.S. annual sales). Beer production is attributed to the rules of alternating proprietorships.

Independent: Less than 25 percent of the craft brewery is owned or controlled (or equivalent economic interest) by a beverage alcohol industry member that is not itself a craft brewer.

Traditional: A brewer that has a majority of its total beverage alcohol volume in beers whose flavor derives from traditional or innovative brewing ingredients and their fermentation. Flavored malt beverages (FMBs) are not considered beers.

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This entry was posted on April 26, 2014 by in Products and tagged , , , , , .
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