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12/18/2018

Slower Burns Shine Brighter: Four Consistent Growers Maintain Health in Tuffer 2018 (excerpt)

Dependable, consistent growth has not been easy to come by for the country’s top craft brands over the last few years and it’s gotten that much tougher in 2018. Closing in on the end of the year, more than half of the 30 largest craft brands by $$ in IRI off-premise data are declining yr-to-date thru Dec 2. Two more are brand new. Of the 11 growing brands with more than 11 months of sales data behind ’em, four are up single digits this yr and don’t epitomize consistent long-term growth: an IPA that quickly took over as a new flagship brand but slowed considerably this yr, a catch-all “brand” that isn’t one brand but many and two top seasonals that took wild rides up and down over last few yrs. Seven others are up double digits so far this yr, but 3 are relatively new to growing at this kind of scale. There’s New Belgium Voodoo Ranger Imperial IPA, a reboot of what was once Rampant that’s just a year-and-change old. Two others are newly-anointed, national lead horses in larger stables of brands, each afforded more focus and enough capacity to be unbridled and sold in many more markets: Elysian Space Dust, for AB, and Cigar City Jai Alai, for CANarchy.

So what’s left? Four brands, each up double-digits: 2 very different flagship IPAs from Michigan & 2 golden ales built on branding that points to distinct geographies and the lifestyles associated with them. Founders All Day, Firestone Walker 805, Bell’s Two Hearted and Kona Big Wave collectively grew sales by over $33.2 mil in IRI multi-outlet + convenience data thru 12/2. That’s over a 1/3 of total craft $$ growth in these off-premise channels this yr. Even more notably, each of them have all grown by double-digits or better for each of the last 4 yrs. All garnered significant attention for their growth in that time, most as fast-moving up-and-comers. But none debuted as rookie of the year, not appearing as top new craft brand launches in IRI presentations as the segment grew. Instead, these brands built momentum on the national craft stage more slowly. The group finished 2014 with $38.6 mil in sales, less than 1/5 of their total sales over the last 52 wks thru 12/2 in IRI. …

Publishing Info

  • Year: 2018
  • Volume: 9
  • Issue #: 112
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