19.2-Ounce Cans Taking Over C-Stores, Data Shows

‘Stovepipe’ size more than 92% of craft single sales, according to Circana
Terrapin beers in 19.2-ounce cans
Photograph courtesy of Molson Coors Beverage Co.

In just a few years, the presence of 19.2-ounce cans have grown immensely in convenience stores.

The 19.2-ounce “Stovepipe” can today accounts for more than 92% of craft single sales at c-stores, according to Circana data, versus less than 10% of craft single sales six year ago.

“They really came out of nowhere,” said Matt Herbert, sales director for Tenth & Blake, Chicago-based Molson Coors Beverage Co.’s U.S. craft division. “And now they’re everywhere.”

The 19.2-ounce can has replaced the 22-ounce “bomber” bottle, which had accounted for more than 75% of craft single sales, according to Circana. Today, bombers are less than 1% of craft single sales at c-stores, and 24-ounce cans are shy of 7%.

The opportunity is growing to connect with craft-beer shoppers as more shift from grocery stores to c-stores, Herbert said.

“Convenience shoppers go in knowing what they want and picking up other purchases while they’re in the store,” he said. “When it comes to beer, knowing how exploratory craft consumers are, you have to figure out a way to provide variety, value and trending styles.”

This can be done by selling singles, he said.

Craft beers in this size can have grown more than 41% to $221 million between 2021 and 2022, according to Circana data. This is the bulk of sales.

In this arena, IPAs are winning, Molson Coors said, with double IPAs a favorite of consumers—and three of the top 10 sellers nationally double IPAs.

Tenth & Blake is experiencing the same trends with its portfolio. Higher-ABV IPAs are growing, with Terrapin Beer Co.’s Depth Perception Imperial IPA up nearly 383% in 2022 versus 2021 and Hop Valley Brewing’s Alpha Centauri IPA up more than 40%, according to Circana c-store data.

“You have this need for flavor and complexity, and 19.2s really fit the bill,” said Adrian Benkonvich, Hop Valley’s president. “And you’re delivering on value. It’s a no-brainer for a consumer looking to try something new. If you’re curious about trying something new, which one do you think you’re going to pick?”

The goal is to convince curious consumers to buy larger pack sizes, Molson Coors said. While 12-packs are typical, Hop Valley recently released its Triple Double imperial IPA variety pack, a six-pack.

Benkonvich said he’s seeing people try one 19.2 and then move to a six-pack. “We’re creating a nice little niche for ourselves with six packs,” he said.

The 19.2-ounce offering also presents another opportunity to retailers, Herbert said.

“Almost half the consumers that buy a craft beer are also going to buy a premium, premium light or above-premium lager” he said, citing Circana data. “If you can get the interaction with the consumer that says, ‘I’m going to get a 19.2 and I’m going to pick up a six-pack of Coors Light,’ you’ve just added $9 to your ring.”

“Only craft can deliver this kind of incrementality.” Herbert said.

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