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Craft Brew News

Beer Marketer's INSIGHTS brings you a new e-letter to cover the hottest segment in the beer biz, craft, in-depth, as it deserves:

CRAFT BREW NEWS


As a subscriber, you get breaking news and much more: numbers, insights, analysis, people, events and perspectives that only BMI can provide. All brought to you in a lively, easy-to-read style. Craft Brew News brings you the knowledge you need to compete effectively in this dynamic segment.

You get accurate, reliable and relevant info to help you make key business decisions: Competitive trends, coverage of key events, interviews with key players, profiles, media coverage and much more. Craft Brew News also includes out-of-the-box features and items only found in the singular world of craft beer, from brand collaborations to unique events and promotions.

Craft Brew News is an e-letter published at least once a week, 60+ times a year, including flashes whenever need-to-know info breaks. CBN will also include occasional forays into the exciting world of specialty imports as well as big brewer efforts to compete in the craft arena. This publication synthesizes what you need to know about craft, helping you avoid information overload, while giving you data and insights you need to maximize your business opportunities.

Subscribe today and get Craft Brew News for the low introductory price of just $225 per year, available for a limited time only. Call for special discounted multiple copy rates. And remember you subscribe at no risk. Your satisfaction is guaranteed. If at any time you are dissatisfied with CBN, we'll refund the unused portion of your subscription.

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Craft beer sales keep on slippin’ in Nielsen scan data, as volume declined 1.5% and $$ down 0.5% for latest 4 wks thru Oct 6 in Nielsen All Outlet data. In fact, craft volume declined in every 4-wk period for the last month and a half in Nielsen, dragging segment volume flat and $$ up just over 1% YTD. Declines are happening across channels too, as craft volume dipped in underdeveloped c-stores (-0.8%) and in grocery (-1.6%) for latest 4 wks thru Oct 6. Yet craft still gained share in c-stores. In grocery, craft lost 0.3 share of volume and 0.6 share of $$ for period. Indeed, scan data paints an increasingly tuff picture for Nielsen-defined craft beer sales at retail. Gotta note, Blue Moon, Leinenkugel and Shock Top steep double-digit declines are only getting steeper. Removing those brands, which collectively saw volume drop 14% for 4 wks and 9% YTD thru Oct, craft segment improves a little over 2 pts to volume +0.8%, $$ +1.6% for 4-wk period. Meanwhile, Sierra Nevada has kept up improved growth trend since mid-to-late Sep; volume up 4% and $$ up 5% for 4 wks. And both Sam Adams (volume down 6%) and New…

Publishing Info

  • Year 2018
  • Volume 9
  • Issue # 93
After big ramp up to 92K bbls last yr, 1st full yr under CANarchy wing, expansion into new markets and continued strong growth of flagship Jai Alai IPA in scans, Cigar City was a sure bet for crossing 100K-bbl milestone in 2018. But it already blew by it thru Q3, likely to leap-frog numerous other craft brewers as it expects to finish this yr at about 143K bbls, +55%, co shared last wk. That would put Cigar City volume somewhere between where Great Lakes (141K bbls) finished 2017 and where each of Alaskan and Victory (147K bbls) ended up. Would also put it less than 40K bbls behind CANarchy compatriot Oskar Blues, which dropped 10% to 180K bbls in 2017, recall. Cigar City also significantly expanded distribution, almost quadrupling the states it’s available in from 6 in 2016 to 23 by 3rd qtr of this yr, by which point co already shipped 107K bbls. That growth heavily driven by Jai Alai, $$ +67% yr-to-date thru Sep 9 in IRI multi-outlet + convenience and keeping up that pace last 4 wks. It’s actually now #2 craft canned 6-pk in IRI data, co shared, with almost 90% of its sales in that…

Publishing Info

  • Year 2018
  • Volume 9
  • Issue # 90
This latest layoff, even more so than all the others, is a symbol of craft’s current, more difficult moment. Yes, even Lagunitas, the most hi-flying and fastest growing craft-brewer during 2010-2015 go-go yrs, is not immune to the intense competition and fragmentation in craft. Lagunitas sales have basically flattened out in US. That’s still better than a lot of its large craft brethren. But unfortunately, it staffed up expecting continued rapid growth, which is not materializing in new environment. Layoffs are 12% of workforce across all departments, CEO Maria Stipp told Craft Brew News, tho “primarily non-commercial,” she added. She declined to specify total number, but CBN understands it’s between 75-100 folks (~900 employees as of Sep 2017). With craft “rapidly evolving” and becoming “even more challenging,” including “freight pressures,” Lagunitas made this “difficult but necessary decision,” according to Maria. It’s “not taken lightly” and Lagunitas made “every effort to do it in the right way.” Maria (like founder Tony Magee) sees a lot of comparisons between what’s happening now and what happened in the late 1990s, when craft stalled for about 7 yrs, but Lagunitas “weathered the storm. We know how to weather the storm,” she said. Lagunitas still…

Publishing Info

  • Year 2018
  • Volume 9
  • Issue # 89
Michigan still a craft outlier. It’s one of few mkts where not one but 2 craft brands make the top-10, 3 make top-15 beer brands, at least by $$ in broad food, drug, mass, club and dollar store stats from Black Apple consulting, using Nielsen xAOC data. And top 2 in-state brewers near 10 share of beer $$, almost 40 share of craft in Mich. That’s Bell’s at 5.4 share, Founders at 4.2 in this broad off-premise channel. With average case price over $6 higher than Founders, Bell’s almost $5 mil in sales ahead, #3 beer supplier in state, bigger than Constellation. But by volume, Founders less than 50K cases behind Bell’s in these off-premise channels. Notably, craft $$ up 5% yr-to-date thru Sept 9 on 3.6% volume gain in state where the segment nears 1 in every $4 spent on beer. Craft case gains have slowed recently, up just 0.4% for 4 wks. But still much better than lots of other US mkts. What of those big craft brands? Biggest is Bell’s Oberon, bigger than Corona Extra by $$ YTD to 9/9 in these off-premise channels. But wasn’t a great yr for the summer seasonal, $$ off near 6%…

Publishing Info

  • Year 2018
  • Volume 9
  • Issue # 88
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…

Publishing Info

  • Year 2018
  • Volume 9
  • Issue # 85
“There’s a lot of bad press about craft beer these days,” Sierra’s Joe Whitney said at the [California Craft Beer Summit, organized by California Craft Brewers Assn in Sacramento last wk]. But “I don’t think it’s really that bad.” In fact, “a lot of people are blowing it out of proportion,” in his view. That said, he and other speakers openly remarked upon the complexity of today’s marketplace, while looking back at the history and development of craft in Calif and across the US. Two intensive days of these presentations and discussions revealed much about craft’s sometimes cyclic growth patterns. In particular, the tactics taken to participate in periods of strong growth can be the same ones that cause trouble during periods of slower or flat growth. In the same way that expanded capacity and distribution footprints, openings, innovation, investment and M&A all fueled outsized craft growth, they also led directly to the lapses in quality, build-up of inventory and consumer confusion that cumulatively slowed the segment down. Joe directly addressed “what’s caused those ebbs and flows” in craft growth over the last 4 decades. In broad strokes, he painted a picture of US craft history in 4 major stages:…

Publishing Info

  • Year 2018
  • Volume 9
  • Issue # 83
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 2019 Beer Insights Spring Conference

★Save the Date!★
The 2019 Beer Insights Spring Conference will be held in Chicago, on Wednesday, May 15th to Thursday, May 16th
at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel.