Craft on Pace for 17 Share of Massachusetts Beer Market

Despite declining overall beer shipments in Massachusetts through the first six months of 2013, craft beer sales continued their upward surge according to recent data from the Beer Distributors of Massachusetts, a trade association advocating on behalf of family-owned wholesalers.

Beer sales to Massachusetts distributors totaled 1,651,012 barrels (22,717,925 case equivalents) for the period ending May 31, 2013, down 1.6 percent from the same period in 2012. But shipments of craft beer, which currently makes up nearly 16 percent of all beer sold in the Bay State, are up 14 percent through May.

Brian Murphy, the director of sales and marketing for Massachusetts Beverage Alliance, said he expects sales of craft beer to continue accelerating through the last half of the year.

“I think that a 17 share for craft is a real possibility if these trends continue,” he said. “The last three months of the year are very significant for the craft segment because of the popularity of Octoberfest and pumpkin beer offerings. I believe sales of those beers will drive craft’s overall share of the beer market to 17 percent for 2013.”

Murphy blamed the softness of domestic beer shipments, which were down 4.6 percent through May, on bad weather and poor sales in the first quarter.

“Overall beer sales were down at the beginning of the year,” he said. “Everyone was hurting but it has turned around. The summer was great, the Red Sox are in the playoff hunt and that makes a big difference for us in Massachusetts. If beer sales can get back to flat, it won’t be a bad year considering how poor Q1 was.”

  • Seth

    Curious what brands are classified as “craft” and by what definition. Guessing that Sam Adams volume is in this 16-17%, but not sure about others.