On the heels of an especially strong week that nearly rivaled the July 4th holiday week, total beer category dollar sales increased 25.5%, to $964.3 million, for the week ending May 16th compared to a year ago.
For context, here’s a look back at the previous 10 weeks of off-premise beer category dollar sales during the COVID-19 sales period:
- +8%, to $694.1 million, for the week ending March 7th;
- +15.2%, to $792.7 million, for the week ending March 14th;
- +39.5%, to $968.7 million, for the week ending March 21st;
- +17.9%, to $819.8 million, for the week ending March 28th;
- +19.4%, to $840.3 million, for the week ending April 4th;
- +19.8%, to $863.7 million, for the week ending April 11th;
- +12.3%, to $855.5 million, for the week ending April 18th;
- +20.4%, to $909.5 million, for the week ending April 25th;
- +28.1%, to $966.8 million, for the week ending May 2nd;
- +29.3%, $983.6 million, for the week ending May 9th.
Even as beer category dollar sales continued to approach the $1 billion mark for a one-week period, those sales aren’t enough to make up for the loss of on-premise sales at bars, restaurants, taprooms and tasting rooms, especially for smaller craft breweries, which over-index in draft sales.
The growth rate during the week ending May 16th decelerated for not just beer but across total consumer goods, as dollar sales of total fast-moving consumer goods were up 12% year-over-year but down 4.8% week-over-week. Nevertheless, off-premise alcohol sales continued to outpace other CPG items, collectively growing dollar sales 29.4% compared to a year ago but declining 4.1% compared to the prior week. The growth rates of spirits (+38.8%) and wine (+30.8%) also continued to outpace the beer category (+25.5%).
So how did the various beer category segments shake out for the week ending May 16th, compared to the same one-week period a year ago?
- Premium lights increased dollar sales 12.6%, and the segment’s top three brands — Bud Light, Coors Light and Miller Lite — were among the top 10 growth brands for the beer category, collectively contributing 12% of the growth for the week.
- Below premium brands increased dollar sales 6.5%.
- Constellation Brands’ Modelo and Corona brands helped drive Mexican imports to 26.8% dollar sales growth.
- Super premium offerings increased dollar sales 24.2%.
- Total craft beer offerings increased dollar sales 19.7%, while independent craft (excluding brands owned by larger beer manufacturers) increased dollar sales 18.9%.
- FMBs, excluding hard seltzers, increased dollar sales 27.7%.
- Non-alcoholic beer dollar sales increased 37.5%.
Consumers continued to gravitate toward 12-packs (+46.6%), with White Claw, Bud, Corona, Modelo, Michelob Ultra and Twisted Tea making up the top brands families selling in 12-packs, Nielsen reported.
Bump Williams Consulting (BWC), which also released its latest analysis of scan data for the week ending May 17th, found that the most incremental dollar sales growth is coming from 12-packs of 12 oz. cans. The firm reported that the incremental dollar sales growth from those packs during the latest one-week period “are greater than the combined gains from the next five packaging formats.”
BWC also shared IRI data showing dollar sales growth for the top craft brands, including Boston Beer Company (+89% w/e May 17th, +54.3% YTD), Yuengling (+7.3% w/e May 17th, +2.4% YTD), Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. (+33.3% w/e May 17th, +21.3% YTD), New Belgium Brewing Company (+43.8% w/e May 17th, +28.2% YTD), Lagunitas Brewing Company (+19.% w/e May 17th, +7.3% YTD), and Shiner maker Gambrinus Company (+26.7% w/e May 17th, 12.9% YTD).
Also of note, Molson Coors Beverage Company’s Blue Moon Belgian White and line extension Blue Moon Light Sky were the top two craft growth brands by dollar sales change, followed by Sierra Nevada Hazy Little Thing IPA and New Belgium Voodoo Ranger Imperial IPA. Molson Coors also owned the two top craft brands by dollar sales for the week: Blue Moon Belgian White and Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy.