IRI: Craft Beer Sales Up 24 Percent Through April 20

A little more than 100 days have passed in 2014 and the craft beer category is showing no signs of slowing down.

Craft sustained its 20-plus percent growth pace, with year-to-date craft dollar sales up 24.6 percent, through April 20, across IRI’s multi-outlet and convenience store universe (MULC), which includes grocery, drug, Wal-Mart, Club, Dollar, Mass-Merchandiser and Military stores.

And the growth is even more impressive in the convenience channel alone, where dollar sales are up 33 percent to more than $153 million.

Leading the charge are IPAs, dollar sales for which are up an astonishing 52.6 percent in MULC and 66.5 percent in c-stores.

But while IPAs may be getting most of the attention, a small but fast-growing section of the craft segment encompasses saison and farmhouse ales, dollar sales for which grew more than 100 percent in first 100 days.

So who are the winners and losers through the first 100 days?

Boston Beer is outpacing many of its closest competitors with company-wide dollar sales up 41.2 percent in MULC, to more than $173 million. That growth is being driven largely by its Angry Orchard Crisp Apple cider and Samuel Adams seasonal offering, dollar sales for which were up 157 percent and 38 percent, respectively, through April 20 in MULC.

Meanwhile, Colorado-based New Belgium Brewing, posted company-wide dollar sales growth of 45 percent on a noticeably smaller base — 5.3 million cases for Boston Beer compared to 1.5 million for New Belgium.

One company growing faster than both Boston Beer and New Belgium is California’s Lagunitas Brewing. Dollar sales for the company grew 81.6 percent, to $23.8 million, through April 20. Meanwhile, Dollar sales for the brewery’s flagship offering, IPA, grew 84 percent during the same period.

But not every craft brand is growing. In fact, dollar sales for Boston Beer’s variety pack and Sierra Nevada’s seasonal SKU were down 8.1 percent and 7.1 percent, respectively.

And how about the so-called “crafty brands” like Blue Moon and Shock Top? Dollar sales are up 9.9 percent and 13.4 percent, respectively.

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