In Supermarkets, Cans Prove to Be Valuable Package for Craft

In supermarkets last year, craft breweries logged approximately $32.6 million from can sales alone—a 168 percent increase from 2011 and a 3.1 percent share of total craft sales in supermarkets.

The major players in craft’s boom played a significant role in this success, as explained Thursday afternoon by Dan Wandel, senior vice president of beverage alcohol client solutions for Symphony IRI, a Chicago-based market research firm. Wandel shared craft beer statistics during IRI’s “Power Hour,” an online seminar joint hosted by the Brewers Association.

Sierra Nevada Brewing Company led the pack in supermarket sales of cans, tallying $6,579,004 in 2012. Two packages sizes accounted for most of the revenue: sales of 12-packs of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale in 12 oz. cans totaled $5,222,414, by the far the highest figure in craft beer, while 4-packs of Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA in 16 oz. cans accounted for $1,222,318 in sales—the sixth highest total of all craft can offerings in supermarkets.

Oskar Blues, one of the true pioneers of canned craft beer, placed second with 6-packs of Dale’s Pale Ale in 12 oz. cans, accounting for $2,297,003 of sales—a 47.1 percent increase from the previous year.

New Belgium trailed only Sierra Nevada in overall can sales as a company, by logging $5,005,255, snagged the third, fourth and ninth spots with 4-packs of Shift Pale Lager in 16 oz. cans ($2,125,260), 12-packs of Fat Tire Amber Ale in 12. oz cans ($1,650,121), and 12-packs of Ranger IPA in 12 oz. cans, which accounted for $675,654 – an astronomical 191.2 percent increase in sales from the previous year. Twelve-packs of Shiner Bock in 12 oz. cans rounded out the top five, accounting for $1,551,708 in sales.

After nearly doubling its barrel production in 2012, 21st Amendment Brewery logged $1,916,351 from cans in supermarkets, the fifth highest dollar sales of all craft breweries within these specifications. Six-packs of Hell or High Watermelon in 12 oz. cans accounted for $1,076,874 in sales, a 67.8 percent increase over the previous year. Hell or High,  the brand’s summer seasonal offering, was the seventh best-selling can in supermarkets. Six-packs of Back in Black IPA in 12 oz. cans accounted for $546,205, the 10th highest for cans and a 49.6 percent increase from the previous year.

The rising presence of craft cans in supermarkets served as a primary catalyst for these encouraging numbers. 978,147 craft cans were sold in supermarkets last year, compared to 373,014 cans in 2011.

Broken down by size and format, 12-packs of 12 oz. cans led the charge, accounting for $13,198,107 in 2012 supermarket sales—a 181.9 percent increase from the previous year. Six-packs of 12 oz. cans followed, accounting for $11,270,871—a 99.3 percent increase from 2011. Four-packs of 12 oz. cans accounted for $885,437—a 113.9 percent change from one year prior. However, the most dramatic leap was seen in sales of four-packs of 16 to 16.9 oz. cans. The package logged $6,450,485 in sales in 2012 — a 559.4 percent increase from the previous year.

  • BBYINVT

    Even the more discriminating craft drinkers are more accepting of cans, Long Trail, Harpoon & Magic Hat all have limited offerings in cans now with Sam Adams right behind… And the new “hot list” beer Heady Topper is only offered that way… One factor your article doesn’t mention was that with that change in taste the bottlers were missing out on “outdoor” activities that craft beer drinkers would still buy “other” beers for convenience and safety sake…beach, barbeque, picnics… and LT and Harpoon also made a big push to golf courses, etc…

  • PakTech

    With announcement of Sam Adams going to cans, expect another big leap in craft cans sold in 2013.