Beer Faced Declines in 2023

U.S. beer shipments reached their lowest levels in 25 years.

January 02, 2024

According to data from Beer Marketer's Insights (BMI), U.S. beer shipments were expected to fall to their lowest level in 25 years by the end of 2023—after dropping more than 5% in the first three quarters of the year.

"It was a tough year for beer," David Steinman, BMI vice president and executive editor, told NBC News.

For the first time since 1999, he said, beer shipments were on track to fall below 200 million barrels.

According to BMI, the past year saw the lowest level of beer consumed in the United States in a generation. A growing number of consumers embracing damp drinking or non-alcoholic beverages has impacted the beer and spirits category.

The beer industry also now finds itself competing against a surge of new alcohol products, many from nontraditional producers, said Lester Jones, vice president of analytics and chief economist at the National Beer Wholesalers Association.

"For example, some of the world’s largest soft drink and energy companies introduced sugar-forward alcohol beverages to the market, all of which are vying for the same consumer occasions as traditional malt- and hop-forward products," he said in an email to NBC News.

"The U.S. beer industry had a wild ride in 2023 against the backdrop of an expanding economy that created more jobs and wage gains for many people, as well as an oversupplied alcohol marketplace that saw a rapid influx of new products," Jones said.

Anheuser-Busch noted that while U.S. beer shipments declined, dollar sales of beer rose. The company remains America’s largest brewer.

Read “The Right Time for A Beer Reset” in the December 2023 issue of NACS Magazine.