Craft beer sales turn the corner. And the next chapter in the Anchor saga
Read time approx. 4 min.
Reporting sales figures for the craft beer industry has been depressing work for quite some time now. We often decide to skip it unless the sad news seems valuable in some way. This week, no suckage. This week we have some happy news to share! Along with that, a couple of other bits of news for you.
Nothing but positive vibes!
Late last week, the National Beer Wholesalers Association (NWBA) released its monthly report: the Beer Purchasers Index (BPI). July marked the third straight month that the craft BPI was higher than the previous year's BPI (as illustrated below).
"The July results show a second straight month of positive ordering trends for most segments, led by a 14-point jump for premium regular," said the NBWA's monthly report. "Slightly higher ordering rates and lower inventories point to positive quarterly trends."
Another report offers some positive vibes as well. According to Brewbound, which cited data from Circana, for the four-week period ending July 16th, off-premise dollar sales increased by 1.2% versus the same period last year. "Craft dollar sales are still down -0.8%, losing 0.39 share points, to 10.19% share of total beer dollars,” said Brewbound. “Craft beer volume in the last four weeks (L4W) declined -2.9% year-over-year (YoY), an improvement over YTD volume declines of -5.1%."
It's a lot of numbers, a lot of small numbers, and it is hard to get too excited about declines just because they are smaller declines than last year's declines, but there you have it. We're taking all of this as a sign that things are improving or at least normalizing. Read the entire report on Brewbound (paywalled).
Anchor's employees are steamed
Thing one: A couple of weeks ago, a group of Anchor Brewing employees made it known that they wanted a chance to put together a proposal to purchase the company and keep it alive. Sapporo said it will entertain such an offer, assuming it is a bona fide offer.
Thing two: Sapporo intends to hand over Anchor Brewing to a third-party company at the beginning of August. That company will manage the liquidation, selling the assets either in whole or piecemeal. It is now officially the beginning of August.
According to the employees, Sapporo has thus far failed to provide them with the necessary information, so they can't make the aforementioned bona fide offer. The information was made known to other interested parties, but not to the employee group. They are asking the company to hold off for a moment and provide the information. Sapporo is acting like the train already left the station.
Apparently, all of this was scheduled to hit the fan yesterday and the outcome is yet unknown. We opted to go live with what we know at this time. Whatever the outcome, we have a pretty strong hunch that the story is not over yet. Stay tuned.
What's up with Montucky Cold Snacks?
Sales, that's what's up. This week Craft Business Daily reported that sales of Montucky Cold Snacks are up more than 9% in volume year to date. Sales are up more than 10% by dollar sales.
Here's a question for you. Do you consider Montucky Cold Snacks a craft beer? It’s a hipster-driven brand often seen as an ironic alternative to PBR. It does meet the Brewer Association’s definition of craft: independent and small. It is privately owned and not owned by one of the big beer companies. It is “small” in terms of annual production. However, there is no actual brewery: the beer is contract brewed at multiple locations across the country. A lot of it comes from City Brewing in Wisconsin, which is a massive beer factory. A bit mysterious exactly where else it is made.
Montucky Cold Snacks is often referred to as a craft beer. Is it? Just curious how you draw that line. Leave us some feedback or shoot us an email.
Here’s some of the feedback we got to last week’s Taster Tray:
dj.gmur@... said: "I wonder how much of the fall off of Bud Light sales are also due to LGBTQ+ sympathizers angry that AB-InBev threw Dylan under the bus after the conservatives had a snit. AB certainly didn't own their snit.”
That's a good point. Whatever the case, Bud Light screwed this one up big time.
So how did we do this week?
Select whichever answer best applies. You'll have a chance to leave additional feedback once your vote is recorded.
This week's Taster Tray was composed by Kendall Jones.