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For 1st 4-wk period in quite some time, short-term craft trends better than yr-to-date in Nielsen off-premise scans. But $$ growth remains sluggish, volume still soft and seltzers keep gettin’ all the glory. Craft $$ up 0.9% for 4 wks thru 7/27 in broad all outlet data from Nielsen, a touch better than 0.7% gain YTD. Short-term volume also better but still negative, -0.1% for 4 wks vs -0.6% YTD. Despite much greater availability of large pack sizes in craft, often at lower (in some cases, much lower) price/case, average craft prices still up 35 cents/case, about 1% for 4 wks. Improvement in July driven by better trends for a couple of larger brands. Over a 9-pt spread between Sierra Nevada’s 4-wk and YTD volume trends, with cases up 6.9% for 4 wks but still off over 2% YTD. It’s been in the black for each 4-wk period since early June. New Belgium also keepin’ up strong off-prem trends, volume +8.4% for 4 wks, now up over 6% YTD. Sam Adams remains a drag on craft growth, but now off high single-digits last few periods vs double-digit declines earlier in yr. All 3 brand families were down or down more…

Publishing Info

  • Year 2019
  • Volume 10
  • Issue # 68
Craft beer is a “different category than it was two or three years ago,” Boston Beer founder/chairman Jim Koch acknowledged on co’s Q2 earnings call yesterday afternoon, soon after reporting huge 17% shipments and depletions gain for the qtr (see yesterday’s issue). Craft is “more mature, more stable,” yet still sees “a thousand new entrants a year. So it’s a category where it’s really difficult to grow if you’re fully distributed and your brand’s been around a long time.” Like Sam Adams. So Boston execs not exactly surprised that Sam Adams continues to underperform in craft. Asked about the brand’s softness – total Sam franchise $$ down 13.3% yr-to-date thru Jul 13 in Nielsen all outlet data – Jim said its current status actually falls “pretty much in the ballpark of expectations.” However, it’s “gaining share in seasonals,” he said. As we noted yesterday, Sam Seasonal $$ +6% for 4 wks thru Jul 14 in IRI multi-outlet + convenience data, now down just 1.5% YTD. Yet total craft seasonals off double digits for both periods. Within craft in general, Jim expects, over “three to five years” that “retailers are going to be more selective about what they put on shelves”…

Publishing Info

  • Year 2019
  • Volume 10
  • Issue # 66
Growth isn’t just going to “new” or “small,” but “local.” All of craft’s growth these days is local, according to off-premise data shared by Nielsen alc bev veep Danelle Kosmal during today’s BA Power Hour. “Local craft,” defined as any brand with 85+% of its volume in one state or retailer, is up 5% by $$ in Nielsen’s broadest all outlet (with convenience, liquor and military) data for 52 wks thru 6/22. Such brands represent just over 10 share of total Nielsen craft $$ (including big brewer brands), but gained almost 1 full share pt in the last yr. And they tend to sell for about $5 more per six pack, with an avg price of $14.34/6-pk compared to craft avg of $9.26. Then too, pull “Local” out of craft and the rest of the segment is down 1.7%. So perhaps no surprise that “local” is important for most craft consumers. A “locally made” craft beer plays an important role in purchasing decisions for 59% of regular craft drinkers and 64% of weekly craft drinkers, according to poll results shared by Nielsen’s Caitlyn Battaglia. So “local” tracks within a point of interest in “Independent” for both casual and core craft…

Publishing Info

  • Year 2019
  • Volume 10
  • Issue # 63
A number of notable in-state declines offset strong growth from fast movers in California in 2018. Such is craft these days, tho. In total, CA brewers shipped about 3 mil bbls of craft beer in the state last yr, we estimate based on state reports. That’s in the neighborhood of 70% of the craft beer produced by CA brewers and up about 3.4%, 100K bbls over our 2017 estimate. As with national trends, all of that growth came from the smallest players. We track the 30 largest brewers, based on in-state shipments, all over 15K bbls in-state, in the table below. While it includes plenty of strong growth, collectively these 30 brewers were down less than 1% from 2017 to 2018. So all other Calif brewers, some 800-850 of ’em, collectively grew about 17% last yr. Those smaller brewers still totaled less than 800K bbls tho and the vast majority of them produced and shipped just a few hundred bbls or less (see below for more). …

Publishing Info

  • Year 2019
  • Volume 10
  • Issue # 61
It’s only gonna get worse before it gets any better for Ballast Point, it seems, following co’s decision to close locations, “halt” any “broad-based” new brand launches and brewpubs a couple mos ago (see Apr 16 issue). Ballast Point declines steepened to $$ down 38%, volume down 36% for latest 4 wks thru Jun 15 in Nielsen All Outlet data cited by Morgan Stanley’s Dara Mohsenian. $$ sales now down down 34% for 12 wks and -21% for latest 52 wks. That’s as avg price/case declines slowed to down 3% for 4 wks vs -5% for 12 wks and -8% for 52 wks, following cos decision to restructure pricing via Discovery Series, Sculpins and Specialty brews. Ballast declines continue to have little-to-no effect on Constellation Beer Brand Divisions’ overall results. Total Constellation beer sales-to-retailers grew 6.6% in Mar-May qtr, with shipments up 4.2 mil cases, 5.4%, and revs up $100 mil, 7.4%, to nearly $1.5 bil for fiscal Q2, co reported earlier today.

Publishing Info

  • Year 2019
  • Volume 10
  • Issue # 58
BrewDog USA is cruisin’ in 2019 even amid “toughest environment I have seen in 23 years of selling craft beer,” Chief Rev Officer Adam Lambert shared in email update to his network (as he used to frequently do back in his Dogfish days). BrewDog depletions are up 114% YTD thru May, following co’s best month yet in May with 51K CEs. Recall, BrewDog USA initially expected to hit 25K bbls and $18+ mil in revs last yr, yet co ended up surpassing 36K bbls in 2018, according to Brewers Assn stats (unclear if any contract volume included in BA number). Over Half of Biz in OH; Mid-Atlantic Growin’ Most; MD with Bond and Buck Dist Notably, 56% of its volume is in OH, growing 90% YTD. Midwest (IN, IL, MI) and Mid-Atlantic divisions are gaining ground, up 132% and 182% respectively, now representing 18% and 22% of total BrewDog biz. Then too, BrewDog added north central WV earlier this yr, as well as 8 new wholesalers in existing territories, DC mkt with Reyes’ Premium Bev in Mid-May, and this week is rolling out MD with Bond and Buck Dist, bringing total footprint to 11 states + DC total (OH, IN,…

Publishing Info

  • Year 2019
  • Volume 10
  • Issue # 55
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