C-stores, Gas Stations Spur Beer Sales Amid Craft Beer Boom

Convenience retailers have outperformed other outlets in selling beer, per NRS data.

April 17, 2023

NEWARK, N.J.—Beer sales continue to skyrocket at gas stations and convenience stores, as these outlets outperform other retail locations, Good Beer Hunting reports. During the first quarter of 2023, convenience retailers had a much better year-over-year trend than liquor and grocery stores, according to data from National Retail Solutions (NRS), which defines beer to include flavored malt beverages and cider.

Total beer volume rose 5.3% in convenience compared to the same period (Jan to March 15) in 2022, well over the 1.4% bump for total beer across all retail outlets. Craft beer did even better at convenience stores, jumping close to 9% in volume year-over-year, way above the 5% increase of all stores.

“Until we started selling beer in [convenience stores], I was like, ‘Really?’ … But I do get it now,’” Dave Hertwig, co-founder and sales director at New Trail Brewing in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, told the site.

Many convenience retailers will be expanding cooler and shelf space for alcoholic drinks in 2023, according to a recent survey by Goldman Sachs analyst Bonnie Herzog for Beverage Bytes.

Shane Douress, director of trade development for Aslin Beer Co, said that some c-stores could be considered “a craft beer bottle shop.”

Shibli Haddad, who owns Arroyo Shell station in Pasadena, California, has a wide selection of craft beer. He turned his store into a craft beer destination with 13 cooler doors. “The growth of craft beer growth was insane, and I saw zero cannibalization of the macro beers. … Now you’re just generating extra revenue,” Haddad said. “With gas station owners, you want to do anything you can to get people in the door. … If you have craft beer and the guy down the street doesn’t, the craft beer shopper is going to choose you.”