C-Store Beer Sales Grew to $16.7 Billion

Leading channel among off-premise retailers

WASHINGTON -- Beer sales in convenience stores rose by 1.3% in 2011, totaling more than $16.7 billion in sales, according to new data released by the Beer Institute. C-stores were responsible for nearly 17% of total beer sales in 2011, comprising the largest share of off-premise sales last year.

"Convenience stores offer beer consumers accessible, speedy service," said Joe McClain, president of the Beer Institute. "Convenience stores are growing in numbers, opening for longer hours, and offering a wide variety of brand options to our consumers. Growing convenience store beer sales show that consumers appreciate the ease of service this channel provides."

NACS chairman Tom Robinson, president of Santa Clara, Calif.-based Robinson Oil Corp., said, "Our strong performance in 2011, including beer sales, shows that our industry's core convenience offer--especially one-stop shopping and speed of service for refreshments, food and fuel--continues to resonate with our customers and attract shoppers to our stores."

The rise in c-store beer sales is concurrent with continuing growth in the c-store industry. The U.S. c-store count increased to a record 148,126 stores as of December 31, 2011, a 1.2% increase from the previous year. Based on these figures and U.S. Census data, there is approximately one c-store per every 2,100 residents.

Overall, the Beer Institute data indicate that beer sales rose more than 2% in 2011, surpassing $98 billion in total retail sales, highlighting beer's continued strength within the alcohol beverage sector. According to market research company Nielsen, the increase in sales revenue can be attributed to the high-end beer business. The sale of imports, crafts and above-premium beers sold off-premise was up nearly 3%.

The beer industry directly and indirectly supports approximately 1.8 million American jobs including those at the nation's 547,000 beer-selling retail establishments.

Founded in 1961 as the National Association of Convenience Stores, NACS is the international association for convenience and fuel retailing. The U.S. convenience store industry, with more than 148,000 stores across the country, posted $681 billion in total sales in 2011, of which $486 billion were motor fuels sales. NACS has 2,200 retail and 1,600 supplier member companies that do business in nearly 50 countries.

The Beer Institute, established in 1986, is the national trade association for the brewing industry, representing both large and small brewers, as well as importers and industry suppliers.