News Craft and imports grow, macro declines

Discussion in 'Beer News & Releases' started by lordofthemark, Feb 16, 2017.

  1. lordofthemark

    lordofthemark Aspirant (270) Jan 28, 2015 Virginia

    Lots to unpack here.

    Craft grew by 7 percent, faster even than imports, but slower than in previous years. Looks to me like a soft landing for craft. Import growth was 6.8%, a slight acceleration from 2015. Total domestic down 0.8 percent, so continued slow decline at the macros. Also beer lost share to wine and spirits.

    Another interesting factoid - while off premises retail sales are strong, brew pubs and taprooms are taking share away from on premises (IE bars, I guess)
  2. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Zealot (593) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    "McGreevy also noted that beer sales at off-premise retail outlets continued to grow while traditional on-premise operators lost sales to brewpubs and taprooms, where volume sales increased an astounding 60 percent."

    If I'm reading this right brewpub/taproom sales grew 60%.

    Anecdotally, I've visited 6 local breweries in the last month, and most of them had lines out the door to enter.

    And this is New England in the dead of winter. It's not warm outside, so standing out there for 20 minutes sucks.
    LeRose, Ranbot, surfcaster and 6 others like this.
  3. MNAle

    MNAle Crusader (700) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    Aren't most of those imports macros?
    AlcahueteJ likes this.
  4. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (2,629) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    According to the below quote they are:

    "Beer Institute CEO Jim McGreevy said sales of imported beer, particularly brands from Mexico, propelled the category to a positive performance in 2016."

    I am continually dumbfounded why AAL beer drinkers are willing to pay high prices for Mexican brewed AAL beers.

    Maybe this just demonstrates the effectiveness of advertising?:confused:

    George1005, PatrickCT and jmdrpi like this.
  5. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (2,629) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    “…brewpubs and taprooms, where volume sales increased an astounding 60 percent.”

    One more indication that the drink local movement is the fastest growing portion of the craft beer market segment. This is not good news for the larger distributing craft breweries (e.g., Sierra Nevada, Stone, Boston Beer Company (Sam Adams),…)


    @RobH @KOP_Beer_OUtlet
    LeRose, cavedave and vabeerguy like this.
  6. lordofthemark

    lordofthemark Aspirant (270) Jan 28, 2015 Virginia

    Sorry for the lack of clarity. I meant domestic macros.
    AlcahueteJ likes this.
  7. lordofthemark

    lordofthemark Aspirant (270) Jan 28, 2015 Virginia

    Yes, I think advertising and image have an effect.
  8. MNAle

    MNAle Crusader (700) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    If they didn't, there are an awful lot of companies wasting an awful lot of money! :)
    ljdrinksbeer and AlcahueteJ like this.
  9. Premo88

    Premo88 Meyvn (1,252) Jun 6, 2010 Texas

    The brewpub/taproom growth jives with what's happening in Texas. Our laws got changed recently to make it easier for smaller brewers to open taprooms, and it's turning a few of them in to the place to be. Jester King does good business on their slow days, and visiting 8th Wonder in Houston a couple weeks ago was an eye-opener. I'd live at 8th Wonder's taproom if they let me.

    My big takeaway left me asking: Why go to a bar when you can go to the source?
  10. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (2,820) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    I'd suggest it means some of the things we're already seeing.

    Partnering, purchasing or selling some ownership in order to increase the size of distribution footprint, the diversity of product lines and/or the range of expertise and skills within the company.


    Victory--Southern Tier
    Stone--Hotel, Richmond, and Berlin ventures
    Boston Brewing--Teas and Ciders
    Dogfish Head--Venture Capital firm specializing in promoting growth and consistency in branding
    Duvel Mortgat--Ommegang, Boulevard, Firestone Walker and focusing on a particular market segment
    Sierra Nevada--Beer Camps, Oktoberfest collaborative brewing
    ABInBev--Goose Island, 10 Barrel, etc., SAB/Miller
    Brewdog--Cleveland, Pubs

    vabeerguy and AlcahueteJ like this.
  11. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (2,820) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Especially if you value beer freshness and a sociable atmosphere over prepackaged beer and multiple TVs that make talking loudly a necessity and facilitate being alone and isolated from others around you.
  12. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Zealot (593) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    I LOVE Sierra Nevada, but unfortunately, if there's a local brewery that's offering similar styles INCREDIBLY fresh, there's no real reason for me to buy a regional/national breweries offering.

    Especially if it's an inviting atmosphere such as a tap room. Not only is it "something to do", but the beer is fresh.

    Good to know it's not just this popular in my area (something I assumed from the 60% number). To be honest, it is becoming a bit annoying where I live though. It's become a game of "which place has a shorter line".

    The other night I hadn't visited this local brewery in awhile, and it was about 9 pm, and there was a 20 - 30 person line out the door...and it wasn't moving. This isn't a small space either. And it was one of the colder nights in the past few weeks.

    One thing that I'm curious far as I know, many of these small local breweries do not release their financial where is this 60% number coming from?
    LeRose and Premo88 like this.
  13. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,210) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    Estimates are made from excise tax data, and IRI data. The BA also gets data volunteered by member breweries.
    AlcahueteJ likes this.
  14. zid

    zid Crusader (733) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Beer Trader

    I know you're not equating the two, but the differences in these examples are so drastically different that I fear it's open to too much misinterpretation on a website where people continuously mention Boston Beer as an example of a macro brand.
    PatrickCT and TheJermis like this.
  15. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (2,820) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Understood, but since it was mentioned in the post I was responding to.... Also I did throw in a bunch of macro brands on purpose, so...

    (Just between you, me and the fence post, I have a feeling those people you refer to would misinterpret anything that doesn't fit with their preconceived beliefs. :))
  16. tzieser

    tzieser Crusader (777) Nov 21, 2006 New Jersey

    It's definitely a regional thing. When I was in Tucson there were few things as refreshing as an ice cold Tecate or Carta Blanca on a 109° afternoon. A few of those while grilling some carne's like a A+ beer in the time/place. I'd say (anecdotally) that Tecate or Modelo were the #1 & 2 beers in the area. The beers were usually really fresh too because of the turnover rate (yes, freshness matters in shitty lagers too believe it or not;)).

    If you're talking about Corona though, yeah I think it's a subpar product worth nowhere near it's asking price. I wouldn't buy it if it were cheaper than the other Mexican beers, let alone pay extra. Absolutely an image/marketing thing.
  17. zid

    zid Crusader (733) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Beer Trader

    Are you strictly talking about on-premise consumption? If so, how can you be sure about the freshness of what is being served to you at either establishment (bar vs. taproom)? If you're also talking about dated packaged product for off-premise, then there are lots of reasons for me. Perhaps the Sierra beer tastes better to me even with the age... price is better... I can buy it while food shopping down the street as opposed to waiting on an hour line on a Saturday morning in a different town... consistency from bottle to bottle... I can enjoy it at home... I can buy it by the bottle or by the case... quality bottling and canning line... as you put it: "it is becoming a bit annoying where I live though. It's become a game of which place has a shorter line"... etc.
  18. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Zealot (593) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    I'm strictly speaking about a brewery's tap room. And there's no way to exactly know how fresh the beer is, but in most cases I assume it's quite fresh. As I can buy (and have bought beers) from a brewery that are dated very fresh, and they have releases on their calendar. It's not like there's a beer at their taproom from three months ago. They're all beers recently released.

    I'm talking more towards taprooms vs. off-premise. But in some cases, I may choose local over Sierra Nevada. In reality, I purchase from multiple sources (bars, taprooms, regional/national brands at stores, imports from stores...etc.). To break this down a bit further...

    1) Assuming my local brewery consistently produces a high quality version of a specific style...I'll choose local over Sierra Nevada.

    2) The majority of the time I have not encountered terrible lines. But this is changing recently. So...stay tuned.

    3) I can buy beer by the can (not many bottles anymore) or case from the brewery if I want.

    4) I almost never consider price as a factor, unless it's absurd, so we'll definitely differ in opinions on this subject.

    You make excellent points though.
    zid likes this.
  19. zid

    zid Crusader (733) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Beer Trader

    Even if you like the Sierra Nevada beer better? Will you make the same decision regarding imports vs local once it's Oktoberfest season? ;)
  20. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Zealot (593) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    Ah, I knew I forgot a word in there. I meant to also say EQUIVALENT quality. If the Sierra Nevada beer is flat out better, I'll buy that. Or even if it is equivalent, I may purchase an old favorite.

    For example, I always buy Summerfest, Celebration, Bigfoot, and their fall pack (simply for their Vienna Lager, there isn't one that's better in my opinion that I can purchase, I like Tumbler too).

    And during Oktoberfest season the majority of my purchases are definitely imports. Although as more of these breweries gain more experience, I'm buying more and more domestic versions. (Re-reading this, I somehow said "more" four times in that sentence)
    McMatt7 and zid like this.
  21. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (2,629) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Because we all want "more"!?!:rolleyes:

    AlcahueteJ likes this.
  22. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (1,733) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    Here's a potentially fun idea :
    Blind taste-off between a good industrial AAL, good Mexican version and even an independent version (like Straub, Yuengling, etc.) . Maybe we could see if there's a big difference after all.
  23. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (2,629) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Michael, I am reminded of a past post on BA. This BA worked at a bar and he stated that his customers claimed they could taste the difference between the various Mega-Brewery beers. One night the Bud Light keg kicked and they didn’t have another keg of Bud Light so he put a different keg on the Bud Light tap (he mentioned either Miller Lite of Coors Light). Not a single customer made a comment to him after he served them the ‘new’ Bud Light.

  24. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (1,733) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    I could see that, but those beers are the low end of the spectrum. Drinkers, too, I bet ;).
    LuskusDelph, Barracudas and Premo88 like this.
  25. jmdrpi

    jmdrpi Poo-Bah (3,854) Dec 11, 2008 Pennsylvania

    I'm sure there is marketing research out there that answers this question - but I wonder if the growth in popularity of brands like Modelo and Tecate are related to a growing Latino population in the US?
    LeRose likes this.
  26. SSGCujo

    SSGCujo Aspirant (210) Jul 12, 2016 Wisconsin

    I was at a beer tasting event in Milwaukee last year, and met two brewers that worked in the basement at the Miller Brewery. The beers they had were good and different than the macros. I have never seen the beers come out from Miller. The macros have too much to lose if the new beers bomb, it's all about $$$. The new trend for macros is to buy micros and reap their rewards.
  27. lordofthemark

    lordofthemark Aspirant (270) Jan 28, 2015 Virginia

    You raise a good point. Most taprooms, and at least some brewpubs, have a very different atmosphere from many bars.

    For non locAL beers with a non bar atmosphere, I think beer gardens are interesting. There is one I have been to hear, a pop up site, sells mostly Greman beers, much more like a taproot vibe.
    Spaceman_Jer likes this.
  28. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Champion (811) Mar 6, 2008 New Jersey
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    That is exactly what is going on in NJ. The laws were changed just over 2 years ago and the number of small breweries exploded. They all seem to be doing well and are selling most their beer at the brewery.
    TongoRad, Premo88 and drtth like this.
  29. Premo88

    Premo88 Meyvn (1,252) Jun 6, 2010 Texas

    Lines suck, but I'd love to have that problem: multiple local breweries pumping out stuff that's popular. Depending on how you count them, we have just three here in Bryan-College Station, and one of them only opens their taproom on Friday-Saturday.

    Your story of the other night, though, very much makes me think of 8th Wonder pre- and post-super duper taproom. I visited that brewery 3-4 years ago before they opened the big taproom, and it was definitely close quarters. The line(s) weren't terrible, but you felt cramped and ... well ... just uncomfortable. Now you go there and wonder how they ever fill up all that space (I went on a Monday; I bet they *do* fill it up on the weekends).

    As for that 60% number, (again, apologies for repeating points I likely missed) I wonder if part of that isn't inflated because that number used to be 0% for most breweries. Like I say, here in Texas you couldn't sell your own beer on your brewery site until just a couple years ago. That's 0% for EVERYBODY.
    AlcahueteJ likes this.
  30. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Zealot (593) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    Believe it or not my friends and I did this maybe ten years ago. I think it involved the usual suspects, Bud, Coors Original, either High Life or MGD (maybe both), Pabst, Schlitz, Black Label, Corona, and a random Hacker-Pschorr or Hofbrau Helles.

    Corona won. The German import did terribly, looking back it was likely very old. This was WAY before I was checking bottling dates.

    Personally I find Corona (and other Mexican AAL) to have distinct tastes separate from your typical Budweiser/Coors.
  31. tzieser

    tzieser Crusader (777) Nov 21, 2006 New Jersey

    Sounds like a good idea. I'm always looking for a good excuse to blow money on Mexican food and beer!

    Tecate, sort of like Coors, has a distinct "yeasty" flavor versus the other major brands that taste much more generic IMO. At least in my mind that's how it is. It's well past due time for a blind taste.
    TongoRad likes this.
  32. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (1,733) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    I'm definitely game. I can't do it for a month or so, but will try to get something going after that.
    Premo88 and tzieser like this.
  33. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Zealot (593) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts


    I actually found one post where I recalled this particular tasting. I couldn't quote it for some reason directly, but the quotation is pasted below.

    "Haha, I did the same thing a few years ago and also bought all my beer at Downtown Wine and Spirits.

    I predict Schlitz wins. It did awful during our tasting but this was before Gusto came out.

    Coors, PBR, and Narragansett did awful in our tasting I believe.

    Corona won believe it or not. We threw in a Hofbrau Original to compare and it was horribly skunked. This was before I became obsessed with checking freshness dates."
    TongoRad likes this.
  34. tzieser

    tzieser Crusader (777) Nov 21, 2006 New Jersey

    Agreed. It's definitely a summer thing anyway. Perhaps a Cinco de Mayo theme is in happens fall on a Friday this year:D
    TongoRad likes this.
  35. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (1,733) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    Niiice! Let's pencil this in, and post a reminder mid April.
  36. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (2,820) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    @TongoRad @AlcahueteJ @tzier

    I'd definitely expect you guys would/will find some noticable differences.

    Maybe a year or two ago I deliberately made a point of serial tasting of some non-US AALs (about 8 or 9, using the categorization on this site) that I'd never tried before. While it wasn't a blind or a side-by-side tasting (they were individually reviewed about a week apart), I still wanted to see for myself what they were like. (I figure that the ratings/reviews for AALs is the style most contaminated by negative biases.) While I found them all to be relatively lightly flavored and lacking in complexity, I am convinced that I did find some differences.

    Edit: Just be sure you avoid beers that rely on strong hop flavors for about a week in advance.
    AlcahueteJ, tzieser and TongoRad like this.
  37. MistaRyte

    MistaRyte Disciple (333) Jan 14, 2008 Virginia

    Is it the taste of antifreeze, maybe?
  38. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (2,820) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    There's no solid evidence of antifreeze as an additive in beer. There is, however, evidence that some folks have confused the name of a chemical found in antifreeze (propylene glycol, a synthetic chemical) with the name of a chemical occasionally used in some beers (propylene glycol alginate, which is derived from kelp) as an FDA approved food additive. They are, however, not the same chemical with the same effects.
  39. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Zealot (593) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    I dig Corona, what can I say? I just can't kelp myself.
    meefmoff, sjverla, MistaRyte and 4 others like this.
  40. MistaRyte

    MistaRyte Disciple (333) Jan 14, 2008 Virginia

    I'm kidding, I like the occasional Corona myself.
    AlcahueteJ likes this.
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