Challenges Facing the Beer Category

The state of the market and growth sectors from Technomic’s 2015 BeerTAB Report

technomic craft beer stat

CHICAGO -- Beer remains the most frequently consumed alcohol type and the largest adult beverage industry, but is challenged by ongoing declines in per-capita consumption, according to Technomic’s 2015 BeerTAB Report.

The overall beer industry grew slightly in 2014 (0.4%), an improvement over 2013. However, category performance within the industry was varied: Craft and imported beers are growing, consumers remain more engaged with the category at retail than at on-premise locations, and cost continues to influence drink purchases.

“Younger consumers, particularly Millennials and Gen Z, are engaging with all three adult beverage categories, putting beer in competition with spirits and wine for consumer occasions and impacting per capita consumption,” said Donna Hood Crecca, senior director at Technomic. “And while younger consumers are willing to explore, they also seek value for their dollar. Presenting relevant, differentiated products with appealing flavor profiles and unique attributes is crucial to garnering consumer attention and prompting purchase, whether on- or off-premise.”

The report identifies key areas of opportunity for adult beverage professionals and industry stakeholders to leverage for business and category growth, including:

  • Craft beer maintains a double-digit growth trend: Up 14% volume in 2014, this category is significantly outperforming the industry overall, and has achieved five consecutive years of double-digit increases.
  • Imported beer is gaining momentum: Ten of the 50 fastest-growing beer brands are imports; seven are from Mexico. This category continues to outpace the industry and is expected to generate 15% of total industry volume in 2015, up 2.1 share points from 2010.
  • Cost is still important: Thirty-seven percent of consumers claim the cost of alcohol is still the most important factor when determining what to drink whether in a retail store or in a restaurant or bar.
  • New category dynamics are reshaping the beer industry: Domestic light, which once accounted for more than half of total beer volume, is projected to account for 46.6% in 2015; imported and craft beer are gaining share.

Technomic Inc. tracks more than 500 beer brands and develops consumer insights into beer preferences and purchasing behaviors for its 2015 BeerTAB Report, which is part of Technomic’s Trends in Adult Beverage series. BeerTAB provides an in-depth look at national volume and sales information on beer categories, brands and suppliers, as well as actionable outlook and projection information, and consumer insights around on-premise and retail beer purchases.

Additional information about the wine and spirits industry is also available on DRINK (Digital Resource INformation Knowledgebase), Technomic’s online resource featuring spirits, wine and beer volume and sales information, category analysis, New Product Tracker, on-premise channel intelligence, and additional tools and insights for adult beverage professionals. DRINK is searchable, exportable and constantly updated.

Technomic, a Winsight company, delivers a 360-degree view of the food industry. Its services range from major research studies and management consulting solutions to online databases and simple fact-finding assignments. Its clients include food manufacturers and distributors, restaurants and retailers, other foodservice organizations and various institutions aligned with the food industry.