Beer Sales Up 1.4% in 2023

Imports and flavored malt beverages accounted for most of the growth.

January 16, 2024

In the beer category, last year's favorites like Modelo Especial, tequila, ready-to-drink cocktails–and non-alcoholic beverages, too–all look to have staying power, said USA Today.

Sales of imported beer increased by $1 billion, or 9.1%, in 2023—a 1.1% increase over 2022, according to data firm NIQ's tracking of sales in U.S. supermarkets, drug stores, mass-merchandise stores, convenience stores and liquor stores.

NIQ reported that beer sales rose 1.4% in 2023, and imports and flavored malt beverages accounted for most of the growth.

"Some consumer preferences are changing and definitely the way our population is made up is also changing," Kaleigh Theriault, associate director of beverage alcohol thought leadership at NIQ told USA Today.

"I think the Hispanic influence is coming through in a lot of our flavors recently, too," Theirault said, citing more beverage makers getting into the category of cheladas, which are Mexican cocktails, usually with beer, lime and other flavors. Modelo and Bud Light are among brands now offering cheladas.

Flavored malt beverages are also expected to remain popular in 2024.This includes drinks such as Twisted Tea and Mike's Hard Lemonade–sales of which rose about 18% in 2023–and canned cocktails such Jack Daniel's and Coke and those from Anheuser Busch InBev-owned Cutwater Spirits, which collectively rose about 5%, NIQ says.

Ready-to-drink products, including flavored malt beverages, hard seltzers, as well as canned spirits and wine drinks, rose nearly 6%, with sales of $10.7 billion. NIQ says.

Theriault recently took part in the NACS webinar “Pouring Innovation: Flavor Forward in Beverage Alcohol,” where industry experts discussed past and present trends on innovative “flavor forward” products within the category. Learn more as speakers also discuss emerging trends, challenges and the future of flavor in the category, including in ready-to-drink products, cocktails and overall flavors.

For a first look at convenience consumer, financial and operational data, register to attend NACS’s State of the Industry Summit, April 3-5 in Chicago.