Beer trends and the Pandemic.

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by 19etz55, Jun 15, 2022.

  1. 19etz55

    19etz55 Disciple (319) Aug 12, 2007 New Jersey

    Consumer trends

    The final impact of COVID-19 on the beer and alcohol beverage market remains to be seen. However, several factors bear watching:

    • At-home consumption (off-premise) will remain elevated through the rest of the year, but it is unlikely that the gains will be large enough to offset the loss of on-premise businesses.
    • Since beer is typically sold at higher prices at on-premise establishments, removing this from the beer industry tends to lower the overall beer spending amount in the economy. However, people may be more likely to trade up to higher-end beer if they are still working.
    • The consumer has shown strong interest in favoring larger pack sizes with double-digit sales growth among 30 and 24-packs.
    • Hard seltzers, premiums and premium lights have seen the most growth in sales throughout this pandemic.
    • Consumers have shifted from experimenting with new brands to purchasing the brands they already know and trust. Long-time brands have had a resurgence of sales growth.
    • Consumer demand is gradually decreasing as the younger generation of Americans faces unemployment and a constricted job market.
    • In several areas, the beer share loss to spirits has grown more pronounced.
    • Finally, the looming economic slowdown as a result of the pandemic will have even more pronounced impacts on consumer buying habits. The original CARES Act valued at $2.2 trillion expired on July 1st, leaving many unemployed consumers in dire straits. Future relief packages are certainly not going to be as generous. As the economic recession continues into the third quarter of 2020 significant consumer disruptions are expected.

    JUNE 16, 2021
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  2. Shanex

    Shanex Poo-Bah (1,779) Dec 10, 2015 France
    Society Trader

    Article is just one year old? Things have probably changed (probably not for the better) since and with the skyrocketing inflation.
    19etz55, Chaz, Thankin_Hank and 4 others like this.
  3. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,467) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Yup, with the inflation we are now experiencing there will indeed be impacts. The common refrain is: people need to decide whether to put gas in their cars or buy groceries. You could replace "groceries" with "beer".

    I am wondering what impact this high inflation will have on the sales of $20+ four packs in the US. I have always refused in the past to pay these exorbitant (for me) prices but obviously other craft beer consumers (e.g., Haze Bros) were. Will inflation finally register an impact here.

    This past weekend I purchased a 12-pack of Lord Chersterfield for 15 bucks. For folks not familiar with this beer a recent video review:

    Cheers to 12-packs!!

    P.S. I enjoyed drinking a couple of cans a two evenings ago after mowing my lawn.
  4. MistaRyte

    MistaRyte Defender (666) Jan 14, 2008 Virginia

    I'll try new stuff (new breweries, in particular).. but at this point, I wanna see dates on the cans/bottles.
  5. BeerVikingSailor

    BeerVikingSailor Meyvn (1,149) Nov 19, 2009 Ohio

    Yeah, not sure of the relevance of posting a year old article about beer consumption / pandemic etc.....a LOT has changed since last June; people are spending much more for basics like food, gas, rent and utilities over the past 6 months...
    I am sure this will impact the beer buying habits of a lot of folks.....including me
    I have bought several 30 pks of basic AAL brews, because of the cost (i.e. under $20 for 30 beers), also, I am now retired and do not have as much disposable income for crazy high priced beers......
  6. BigIronH

    BigIronH Meyvn (1,440) Oct 31, 2019 Michigan
    Society Trader

    Lol, yeah. That’s what the economic slowdown is from. The pandemic… hopefully you don’t read as far into these phrases as I do or else your blood pressure just went up a few points.
    I’ll tell you right now Jack, I don’t consider myself a “Haze Bro” but I have purchased plenty of 20 dollar+ 4 packs, especially when patronizing my locals. In the last 3 months since gas hit 4 bucks a gallon, I’ve bought none. My cost of living has increased at least 1k per month between gas and the cost of necessities. I know I’m not alone in saying, there’s a lot of fairly priced 12 and 15 packs in my future. Cheers.
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  7. Thankin_Hank

    Thankin_Hank Poo-Bah (1,962) Nov 18, 2013 Texas

    I think I drank more beer than burned gas last couple of years. My 2014 F150 only has 49,000 miles. Got it 8 years ago this month. When I find good beer I pay for it. My local brewer I used a lot during covid had those $20+ 4-paks too. Some are just more remarkable than others. Also higher ABV which got to be more drunk and drinking less beer too. I like my IPAs in the 6-7% ABV range too. The inflation sucks.
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  8. Thankin_Hank

    Thankin_Hank Poo-Bah (1,962) Nov 18, 2013 Texas

    Or on the outside of the packaging like some do.
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  9. Thankin_Hank

    Thankin_Hank Poo-Bah (1,962) Nov 18, 2013 Texas

    I'm going back out to bars now for beers and eating in restaurants more often. All those people getting back to work again and another wave of recession after covid is just fn great huh? Now we'll slow down going to bars again and eating out less again and everybody hurts.

    BigIronH likes this.
  10. crazyspicychef

    crazyspicychef Disciple (356) Sep 27, 2012 Pennsylvania

    Thank goodness the cost of Homebrewing has stayed the same.
    I can still brew 5 gallons of fine brew for about $25.
    Frees up a few bucks for some splurge beers once in a while.
    Just not the $75 & $102 bottles I just saw at my local beer store.
    The $102 bottle was from Alaska.
    Shipping must cost a fortune!
    19etz55 and augustgarage like this.
  11. ChicagoJ

    ChicagoJ Poo-Bah (1,800) Feb 2, 2015 Illinois

    Like most East Coast beers, we do not get Yuengling Beers in ILL. Perhaps one day I'll try Lord Chesterfield. I've had Yuengling's Lager (poor 1.5) & Pilsner (good 3.5).

    I occasionally go 12 packs (bought Bell's Oberon for $15), but it needs to be fresh, on sale and one of my favorites to have that commitment. Otherwise, I'll pay a bit more for 4-6 packs.

    I try to target $9-$11 for six packs at this point, $9-$12 for 16 oz four packs. The four packs broaden what's available beyond flagships/variety packs, and I also prefer a pint serving for non BA beers.

    I'll look through the cheaper beers I like (Moosehead, Budweiser, Montucky Cold Snacks (City Brewing), Schlitz, Colt 45), but hard to find fresh.
  12. thebeeremptor

    thebeeremptor Disciple (306) Aug 12, 2018 California

    More or less everything I'm going to reply about is anecdotal from what I've experienced as a buyer. As you know, anecdotes are only evidence of an anecdote. I'm also a little impaired... :beer:

    This is about the only thing that has remained consistent from the period of lockdown (April-ish 2020 in CA) to now. In the almost six years I've been at my current store, I've never seen so many 24 packs going out. Most of it is centered on Mexican import beer. I used to sell single digit numbers of cases of 24packs per SKU prior to the pandemic. Now I'm selling nearly twenty to thirty a week of 24packs from each SKU.

    Let that sink in.

    Yes but also no. It could be argued that seltzers were coasting on a crazy upward trend and growth in sales prior to the pandemic. The fact seltzers are really only available in package format, not draught, could let you extrapolate from that they are immune or at least delayed from the issue of on-prem during lockdown; some of that is due to their branding/image of wanting to be seen in their cans. There is always hysteresis in a trend like that. The new iterations of variety packs have kept them relevant but the category on the whole is plateauing or heading down. The category is at its most saturated, especially among the largest names (White Claw and Truly).

    For premium lights, Bud Light Next and Michelob Ultra are riding high. No problem burning through multiple of cases of each on a normal weekend.

    The pendulum for spending on alcohol can swing widely in one direction or the other. As a general rule, during times of economic hardship, those that will drink and have no strong preference in alcohol tend to gravitate toward spirits for their high alcohol content to price ratio. Alcohol consumption can decrease (because of costs) or increase (hardship, unemployment, etc) depending on the individual. It's a chaotic time to generate meaningful conclusions from consumer data.

    That seems to be my experience in sales so far this year. Certainly things have shifted significantly. Sales are not down due to people spending less necessarily but because the world in a lot of places is more or less "normal" now.
  13. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,467) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Thanks for providing the above observations.

    Have you noticed any changes in buying habits over the past few months due to hyper-inflation? Are customers now purchasing more of the lower priced products vs. high priced four-packs for example?

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  14. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,467) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    If you ever travel to the East Coast (e.g., Pennsylvania) and get a chance to drink Lord Chesterfield it is a worthwhile AAL beer IMO.

    Just like the fellow who did the video review I linked above I also enjoy their Porter and Black & Tan. These beers (including Lord Chesterfield) are not 'earth shattering' beers but a very good beers within the context of their price. Oh, and I also enjoy drinking the Yuengling Hershey's Porter beer which is a seasonal (I still have a few bottles left from a 12-pack purchase).

    The most popular selling product is the Traditional Lager (or simply called Lager in my area) and sometimes I like this beer and on other occasions not so much. My guess is this beer is just not in my personal 'sweet spot' so to speak.

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  15. thebeeremptor

    thebeeremptor Disciple (306) Aug 12, 2018 California

    As was the conclusion in the OP quoting from the article, it hasn't seemed to me that people have changed their buying habits as much. Maybe they are buying less, as sales for the company on the whole are down slightly but I have a suspicion this downward blip has more to do with people venturing out again to restaurants/bars/taprooms and traveling, and not necessarily people spending less.

    I think the real litmus test coming up will be Fourth of July. It's one of the more beer/seltzer centric drinking holidays of the year. We'll see how it goes.
    JackHorzempa likes this.
  16. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,467) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Yeah, I suppose that could be another manifestation: instead of buying differently (i.e., more economical products) perhaps they are just cutting back on consumption.

    I just gotta figure that after paying > $50 to fill up the car/truck (likely significantly more in California) there has to be less disposable money for luxuries such as beer.

    thebeeremptor likes this.
  17. ithacabaron

    ithacabaron Savant (910) Jul 16, 2003 California

    Agreed! Lord Chesterfield and Yuengling Porter (a rare lager porter) are both quite tasty. Up to each drinker as to whether it's worth supporting their political activities, however.
    billlang likes this.
  18. kp7

    kp7 Initiate (100) Feb 8, 2021 Massachusetts

    My local has Yuengling 12s for $13. Having a black and tan as I type. I think it may be one of the most underappreciated beers in the US. Great? No. But it's flavorful in a way that not much else is at that price point and it's always solid--I've never had a subpar one.

    On a separate note, the word you want is premises, folks. A premise is a statement used as the basis for a conclusion in logical reasoning. A premises is a physical location.
    JackHorzempa likes this.
  19. nuplastikk

    nuplastikk Initiate (104) Aug 28, 2008 Pennsylvania

    Less and less creativity, higher prices, slower bartenders.
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  20. nuplastikk

    nuplastikk Initiate (104) Aug 28, 2008 Pennsylvania

    on the positive side - side pour lagers, cold IPA, Czech-style stuff, NZ hops
    #20 nuplastikk, Jun 20, 2022
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2022
  21. dbl_delta

    dbl_delta Poo-Bah (3,496) Sep 22, 2012 Pennsylvania
    Society Trader

    LOL. I'm pretty sure I could quantify that for my expenditures.

    But I'm not sure I want to......
  22. AWA

    AWA Defender (619) Jul 22, 2014 California

    at the end of the day, beer will end up in the same boat as every other retail product. They will need to sacrifice margin for volume. I don't mean every brewery will need to turn in to inbev junior, but I do think they will need to focus on selling more beer by giving up some profit. The ones that don't, for the most part, won't survive.
  23. bubseymour

    bubseymour Poo-Bah (3,421) Oct 30, 2010 Maryland
    Society Trader

    Reduce beer consumption by 50% to beat inflation and shrink the belly. Still drink world class beer. Definitely agree that I’m buying more tried and true beers vs new beers. My monthly ticks of new beer ratings are down about 40-50% as well in the last year or 2. Mixed 6 singles have been running me close to $30 lately and I can’t do that on the regular. I can buy 3 high quality 6 packs/ 4packs of different beer styles for just a little more than that and will last me a lot longer before needing to buy more.
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