U.S. Beer Shipments Slip; Off-Premise Sales Stay Flat

IPAs remain the largest product in the craft beer category, with dollar sales up 12.8%.

November 29, 2018

CHICAGO, Ill. - Shipments of domestically brewed beer are down about 2.9%, according to the Beer Institute, but year-to-date volume sales at off-premise retailers remain flat, reports Brewbound.

Volume sales at chain and convenience stores slipped 0.3% year-to-date through the period ending Nov. 4, reports IRI, the market research firm. Domestic premium beer sales were responsible for much of the decline.

Imported beers picked up some of that loss. Volume sales of imports were up 5.3% through Nov. 4. Craft beers, meanwhile, were up 1.1%, and volume sales of domestic super premium and flavored malt beverages were both up over 11% during the same period.

According to IRI, volume sales for Anheuser-Busch, MillerCoors and Heineken are down 2.2%, 3.1% and 5.7%, respectively. However, sales of Constellation Brands, including Mexican imports, such as Corona, Modelo and Pacifico, were up 12%. Boston Beer Company saw sales jump 18.7% through Nov. 4 thanks to its hard cider, alcoholic seltzer and spiked tea brands.

The craft category experienced modest growth overall, but volume sales for some of the country’s largest craft breweries, including New Belgium, Gambrinus, Craft Brew Alliance and Deschutes, declined during the period.

Among craft beer styles, IPAs are still the largest product in the category, with dollar sales up 12.8%. Sales of craft golden ales and “other pale lagers” are still on the rise. Both categories jumped 13.5% and 52.9%, respectively, albeit on smaller volume bases.