Symphony IRI: Craft Continues Strong Growth in Supermarkets

ChainbreakerBy spreading its footprint in supermarkets and convenience stores, craft beer continued its strong growth in 2012, seizing a greater share of the beer category.

Dan Wandel, senior vice president of beverage alcohol client solutions for Symphony IRI, a Chicago-based market research firm, validated craft’s growth with statistics he shared as the featured guest of Power Hour, a online seminar hosted by Pete Johnson of the Brewers Association.

Wandel analyzed numbers within two different platforms: multi-outlet (MULO), which includes food, drug, club, dollar and military stores, and multi-outlet and convenience (MULC).

In MULO, craft’s dollar sales increased 17.1 percent from the previous year, dollar share in the category increased by 7.6 percent, case sales increased 13.4 percent from the previous year, and case share in the category increased by 4.7 percent.

Meanwhile in MULC, craft beer sales increased by 18.5 percent from the previous year, dollar share in the category increased by 4.3 percent, case sales increased by 14.4 percent, and case share in the category increased by 2.6 percent.

A significant factor in this growth, Wandel said, was the continued success for craft in October, November and December, or what he calls “the OND period.”

“Make no mistake,” Wandel said, “the OND period of time is craft’s biggest selling season.”

Craft’s share of sales in supermarkets during this three-month period has steadily risen. In 2009, the segment had 4.3 percent share of total alcohol sales (including wine and spirits), 4.9 percent in 2010, 5.5 percent in 2011 and 6 percent in 2012.

In the beer category alone, the craft segment’s dollar share in supermarkets has also risen, from 9.5 percent in 2009, to 11 percent in 2010, 12.4 percent in 2011 and 13.8 percent in 2012.

This growth will likely continue, Wandel said, despite the also rising price per case. In 2010, craft cases averaged a price of $32.97, increased to $33.38 in 2011, and finished at $34.44 in 2012.

Successful new offerings served as another key factor in craft’s continued growth last year. While the actual level of innovation with these products is debatable, the sales figures were undeniable.

“I’m here to tell you today that the beer category really answered the call and stepped it up in terms of innovation,” Wandel said.

While Anheuser-Busch InBev dominated with its two new darlings, Bud Light Platinum ($97,146,640 in sales) and Lime-A-Rita ($46,087,584), new craft offerings made their own mark in supermarkets. Deschutes Chainbreaker White IPA tallied $2,601,975 in sales, New Belgium Shift Pale Lager tallied $2,151,305, and Sam Adams Whitewater IPA logged $2,066,139.

More coverage of the Power Hour seminar will be posted tomorrow.

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