Revealing 2013 Beer Statistics
Beer is changing in America. The U.S. beer market has decreased by 8 million barrels since 2008, an almost 4 percent decline, based on preliminary 2013 estimates by Beer Marketer’s INSIGHTS (BMI).
BMI collected and analyzed beer data from government reports, retail sales trackers and companies themselves. So though final volume numbers from the largest beer companies aren’t yet available, it looks like Anheuser Busch InBev and MillerCoors collectively lost over 17 million barrels in sales last year, down 10 percent and 11 percent respectively, from their 2008 peaks. (A barrel is 31 gallons.)
During the same period, the number of U.S. breweries skyrocketed, along with interest in small-scale, local and more varied products. Five years ago, the overall craft segment was about 4 percent of U.S. beer volume. That grew to more than 7.5 percent in 2013, BMI estimates, with volume up more than 77 percent since 2008 to about 15.75 million barrels. The 30 largest craft companies in 2013 collectively grew over 54 percent since 2008, adding more than 3.4 million barrels to craft. The smaller brewers collectively grew by almost the same volume since 2008, adding just under 3.4 million barrels.
The top 30 craft suppliers by volume grew by about 10 percent as a group last year, led by Boston Beer and its Samuel Adams line. The public company has never said how much of what it produces is beer and how much is Twisted Tea or Angry Orchard, but all the data BMI has seen points to about 8 percent volume growth for Boston Beer’s beer business last year. The brand sill produces nearly 15 percent of all of craft beer. Both Sierra Nevada and New Belgium grew more slowly in 2013 than 2012 and held about 6 percent and 5 percent of craft respectively.
To see a more complete picture of competition in the craft segment, BMI includes Craft Brew Alliance (CBA) and Magic Hat/Pyramid (a pair of craft brands with the same parent company) in the craft category. CBA clocked in at No. 4 with its Widmer, Redhook and Kona brands collectively up about 8 percent. Magic Hat/Pyramid posted one of just two volume declines in the top 30, down almost 12 percent last year. (Rogue was the other decliner, down about 9 percent.) Spoetzl (of which Shiner is by far its largest brand), at No. 5, was also up about 8 percent last year.
Fastest grower in the top 10 was No. 6 Lagunitas, with a plus-70 percent volume increase in 2013 to about 400,000 barrels. The Petaluma, CA, brewer has more than septupled its production since 2008. Two other top-30 breweries have seen exponential volume growth in five years: Oskar Blues (almost five times its 2008 volume) and Founders (over nine times). Deschutes, Bell’s and Brooklyn round out the top 10, each posting at- or above-segment growth last year. Other fast-growers probably sound familiar: Stone, Dogfish Head, Firestone Walker and SweetWater.
Just as craft has gained a larger share of the beer market, smaller brewers have gained a larger share of craft. In fact, the 10 largest craft beer companies in 2013 collectively lost about 10 share-points to smaller breweries since 2008. Similarly, last year’s top 30 were over 71 percent of craft volume in 2008, but that was down to just over 62 percent in 2013. Share keeps shifting. Change keeps coming, including to the significance of volume: Many beer companies are becoming much better at making more money from selling less beer. So even as overall U.S. beer volume declines, an influx of flavor-focused insurgents continues to inject the beer industry with excitement, competition and innovative thinking, likely to encourage more shifts and adjustments, more change.