Sour ales are the fastest trending craft style in natl scan data, but certain regions are driving growth more than others, founder Sam Calagione showed in part of presentation at Dogfish Head distrib mtg. Sour ales $$ sales grew 156% in the South region and +99% in East region Nielsen foodstores for 52 wks thru Aug 11, compared to +34% in the West and +7% in the Midwest. That’s part of the reason Sam plans to take a month-long boat ride up the coast with his son (for the second time), partnering up with the Nature Conservancy so they can go “up the sour beer highway” from the FL keys to Maine to visit distribs, while simultaneously capturing footage and film for a documentary along the way. Interestingly, the South makes up 38% of all sour ale sales tracked in Nielsen foodstores nationally, and still has the best growth trend of the bunch. West and East regions make up another 30% and 20% respectively. Leaving just 12% of sour sales in the Midwest.
Meanwhile Dogfish’s SeaQuench ale $$ sales grew 160% to $6.9 mil for 52 wks thru Aug 11 in Nielsen All Outlet data, making it number one sour brand by a longshot. Next best-selling sour brands are Lindemans Framboise Raspberry (a Belgian import), down 11% to $4.55 mil, Victory Sour Monkey up 169% to $3 mil in sales, and 10 Barrel Crush Cucumber Sour ale up 42% to $2.5 mil. In fact, 5 of the top-10 sour brands are declining for 52 wks, even as the total sour ale style grew 51% in same period. List includes 10 Barrel Crush Raspberry Sour (-87%), Lagunitas Aunt Sally (-36%), and two more Lindemans brands each down double-digits. However two newer brands also just cracked the top-10 list: Urban Artifact, up 423%, and Brooklyn Bel Air, all incremental in tracked Nielsen scans.