Thursday, May 17, 2007

Import beers hit a soft patch while crafts surge

Not to get bogged down in month-to-month stuff, but...Miller Brewing has an industry-focused newsblog, BrewBlog, that I would recommend to you: solid beer biz news, and it's very amusing to watch them beat up on A-B; they're relentless.

There was a post today about supermarket beer sales. The short version: Crafts were up in April, imports were flat.

The longer version:

Crafts picked up sixth-tenths of a point of case share in supermarkets during the four weeks ended May 5, according to beer sales statistics from Nielsen. Crafts have been gaining share for more than three years. (emphasis added)

Boston Beer, the brewer of Samuel Adams and the biggest craft brewer, saw share grow by a tenth of a point during the latest period, according to Nielsen.

Import share, meanwhile, was flat during the period, according to Nielsen.

The group was dragged down by negative trends by the two biggest imports, Corona Extra and Heineken. Corona lost three-tenths of a share point during the period;

Heineken Premium Light, which drove imports’ share growth last year, was flat.

What's all that mean? Like I said: don't get bogged down in month-to-month. The import sales are not a trend yet. Craft sales, on the other hand, are definitely on a long-term trend upwards.


Steven said...

I heard this story on Milwaukee radio this morning and the biz reporter said "imports sales were up" over the likes of Miller. I wondered how accurate that really was. Interesting how knowledge of the industry is so thin.

Lew Bryson said...

Keep in mind: the story from BrewBlog is about supermarket sales, which often trend differently from overall sales. Miller's sales have been kind of muddled, up and down from month to month. Too bad, I'd like to see them get their act together again. They seem to have some smart folks at the top these days (finally...; wish they'd get up their guts and bust a move.

geoffrobinson said...

They need to break apart Fuller's, Wenheinstephaner, Young's, and all other "craft imports" from the overall category. Corona may be suffering from the overall trend of bland macro lagers. But quality imports may be doing very well.

Lew Bryson said...

There is a report out from...the national beer wholesalers association, I think...that breaks out import sales by country, with increase/decrease over the previous two or three years. Eliminate Mexico, Holland, and Canada, and you're close to that, although you'll miss a few craft brands like Unibroue and 'tIj. But I think you're right: from what I've seen, the 'craft imports' are doing quite well.