Technomic Reports Ongoing Shifts in Beer Industry

Craft beer posted one of the largest percent gains of any beer category

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CHICAGO -- The beer industry reversed its downward trend of recent years to post both volume and dollar gains in 2012, but the momentum is slowing in 2013. The just-released 2013 BeerTAB (Trends in Adult Beverage) Report from Technomic Inc. has revealed that following a 1.3% decline in 2011, total beer volume increased 1.2% to 2.8 billion 2.25-gallon cases, and retail dollars rose 3.5% to $62.3 billion.

Retail sales are understated because on-premise sales are estimated at retail price.

The report demonstrates that as consumer preferences evolve, the beer market landscape is changing.

"Mainstream domestic beer performance was buoyed somewhat by the continued growth of super-premium labels such as Blue Moon and the retro-hip brands including Pabst Blue Ribbon. The mainstream domestic category's rate of decline slowed in 2013," said Eric Schmidt, director of research at Technomic. "Light beer remained the largest category, and volume expanded slightly as Bud Light was flat, Coors Light grew and Bud Light Platinum added 20,000 cases to the market."

Schmidt added that the largest beer categories faired considerably better in 2012 than they did in 2011, although the industry's momentum really came from imported and craft beer, flavored malt beverage and cider.

Other findings of the 2013 BeerTAB report include:

  • Higher-priced categories grew as consumers sought more flavor and diverse styles. The pricier super-premium domestic, craft, imported beer and cider categories together added 44.9 million cases to the overall market.
  • Craft growth continues. Craft beer posted one of the largest percent gains of any beer category, 14.4%, and now accounts for 6.3% of total beer volume. Its upward trajectory is continuing in 2013.
  • Cider benefits from major supplier involvement. Anheuser-Busch InBev, MillerCoors and Boston Beer Co. each staked claims in the cider category in 2012, contributing to its significant growth. In 2013, the entry of Heineken USA as marketer of Strongbow, the introduction of Stella Artois Cidre by Anheuser-Busch InBev and debut of Mike's Hard Smashed Apple continues to fuel the category.
  • Consumer beer spending in bars and restaurants rose. After declining in 2011, beer volume in on-premise locations increased slightly in 2012, while sales grew 2.5%.
  • Advertising expenditures increased. Beer marketer spending in major media outlets grew 6.5% to $1.3 billion in 2012. Television accounted for more than two-thirds of total spending.

The 2013 BeerTAB Report is part of Technomic's Trends in Adult Beverage series, and provides in-depth national volume and sales information on beer categories, brands and companies, as well as consumer insights, all presented with expert analysis and forecasting. New in the report this year are extensive beer advertising metrics.

To purchase or learn more about BeerTAB, WineTAB and SpiritsTAB, as well as other industry reports and services for adult beverage suppliers, including the online DRINK database, please visit Technomic or contact one of the individuals listed below.

Chicago-based Technomic provides clients with the facts, insights and consulting support; its services include publications and digital products as well as proprietary studies and ongoing research on all aspects of the food industry.