US. Craft Pricing Strengthens in August

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Craft beer pricing strengthened in the latest 4-week period compared to the July numbers. For July pricing gains were at a level of 14 cents per case. Pricing growth for the early August period nearly tripled to 42 cents per case compared to this time last year. All beer pricing grew at 44 cents per case in the 4-week period, showing that craft pricing at retail is not growing as quickly as other segments.

While volumes remain outstanding, the volume growth was up 15.7% against the previous month’s growth of 16.5%. That raises the question of whether the growth percentage is starting to level out for craft. Time will tell. Overall beer sales are showing better trends lately, indicating that the loss in all beer sales for the country is on a path toward leveling. Of the 11 large brewer brands that get special attention from analyst Dara Mohensian, only Blue Moon is growing.

Craft Pricing

4 Weeks to August 7, 2011–up 39 cents per case.

Year to Date 2011–up 34 cents per case

52 Weeks (August 2010-August 2011)–up 40 cents per case.

Here’s a rundown of some of the other craft figures from the SIG report for food/drug and convenience stores.

4 Weeks to August 7, 2011–15.7% volume growth; 17.1% dollar growth. (All beer +0.8/+3.0)

Year to Date 2011–14.2% volume growth; 15.4% dollar growth. (All beer -0.8/+1.6)

52 Weeks (August 2010-August 2011)–13.9% volume growth; 15.4% dollar growth. (All beer -1.1/+1.4)

Craft gained 0.4 share points over the scan period by volume and 0.6 share points of dollars, same as the last 4-week period. Imports gained 0.1 share points of volume and 0.2 share points of dollars. Domestic superpremium picked up 0.2 share points of both. The share was taken from domestic premium and domestic subpremium.

Beer styles gaining at least 0.4 share of cases of the craft segment in the four-week scan period were IPA, variety packs and other pale lagers. IPA was the big gainer yet again, picking up a whopping 2.9 share points by craft style, mostly from pale ale, amber ale, amber lager and wheat.

Paul Gatza