Ongoing Shifts Changing the Landscape of Beer

CHICAGO -- The beer industry found something to toast about in 2012 as its downward sales trend began to reverse with volume and dollar gains. However, the momentum appears to be slowing down this year, according to Technomic's 2013 BeerTAB (Trends in Adult Beverages) Report.

Following a 1.3-percent decline in 2011, total beer volume increased 1.2 percent to 2.8 billion 2.25-gallon cases, and retail dollars rose 3.5 percent to $62.3 billion in 2012. The report demonstrates that as consumer preferences evolve, the beer market landscape is changing, the research company said.

"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," 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."

He 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 beverages and cider.

Other key findings of the 2013 BeerTAB Report include:

  • Higher-priced categories grew in 2012 as consumers sought more flavors 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 percent -- and now accounts for 6.3 percent of total beer volume. Its upward trajectory is continuing this year.
  • Cider is benefiting from major supplier involvement. Anheuser-Busch InBev, MillerCoors and Boston Beer Co. all 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 A-B InBev and the debut of Mike's Hard Smashed Apple continue 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 percent.
  • Advertising expenditures increased. Beer marketer spending in major media outlets grew 6.5 percent to $1.3 billion in 2012. Television accounted for more than two-thirds of total spending.

The 2013 BeerTAB Report is part of Chicago-based Technomic's Trends in Adult Beverage (TAB) 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.

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