IRI: Craft Growth Slows to Single Digits in 2016


For the first time in more than a decade the craft beer category failed to grow double-digits, according to new data from market research firm IRI Worldwide.

In its latest report, IRI noted that craft dollar sales at U.S. supermarkets grew just 6.9 percent in 2016, to more than $2.28 billion, while volume sales grew at an even slower 4 percent clip.

By comparison, craft dollar sales at U.S. supermarkets grew more than 20 percent and volume sales grew 16 percent in 2015.

The last time craft dollar sales failed to grow by double-digits was 2005, according to Daniel Wandel, the senior vice president of IRI’s beverage alcohol insights group.

“It is important to note, however, that back then, our definition of Craft did not include brands such as Blue Moon, Leinenkugels, etc.,” he wrote to Brewbound, noting that those brands likely would have driven the segment to double-digit dollar sales growth.

“As a result, more likely the last year that Craft Dollar Sales in Total US Supermarkets failed to achieve double-digit percent sales growth would have been 2004,” he added.

That year, craft dollar sales increased just 4.6 percent.

Craft trends were particularly weak over the last four weeks of 2016, as volume sales at supermarkets grew just 0.8 percent and dollar sales grew just 1.9 percent.

Top Performers

Amongst IRI’s top 30 ranked craft brands, 17 offerings — including Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale and Torpedo IPA, Samuel Adams’ Boston Lager and Rebel IPA, New Belgium Ranger IPA and Widmer Hefeweizen — posted negative dollar sales figures at U.S. supermarkets in 2016.

But other brands showed strong growth: Founders All Day IPA, Firestone Walker 805 and Goose Island IPA experienced double-digit growth of 73 percent, 67 percent and 54 percent, respectively.

MillerCoors-owned Blue Moon Belgian White topped IRI’s craft list, up just over 2 percent and recording more than $115 million of sales at U.S. food stores.

Amongst vendors, Constellation Brands, bolstered by the strength of its Mexican import portfolio and Ballast Point, grew supermarket dollar sales more than 11 percent.

Founders Brewing and Firestone Walker posted the most impressive company-wide dollar sales growth figures, up 54 percent and 40 percent, respectively.

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