When will the beer category see volume growth again? Paul Hetterich, executive vice president of Constellation Brands and president of its beer division, said it’s a matter of equilibrium.
For a long time, the category was driven by premium and subpremium brands, leaving high-end beers fighting for what remains. But over the past decade, superpremium brews, craft beers, flavored malt beverages and imported beers, significantly including Constellation’s Corona and Modelo Mexican imports, have led the market, driving high-end beer to account for 40% share of category sales in the U.S., even as the total beer market has declined. It’s once that equilibrium between high-end beers and the rest of the market is reached that the category as a whole will grow again, he said.
“Once high-end becomes more than 50% of the volume, you’ll see [the beer category] return to growth,” Hetterich said. “It will just be 0.5% or 1.0% growth, rather than the 0.5% or 1.0% declines you see now.”