Breakdown of Brewers Association 2011 Results

Posted on March 31, 2012


This week was one in which I really missed being back in the US drinking a nice IPA at a beer bar where the beers are actually over 7%, so instead since I’m still in Australia I have spent time reading a lot of articles on beer and drinking nice wine instead.

So Craft Beer is now taking over 5% of the US Beer Market according to our friends at Brewers Association. But I thought I would dig a bit deeper into some of the data based on the limited information they have provided. They do state they are releasing some more data in one of their ‘paid’ newsletters or at the Craft Brewers Con in San Diego. I am not a fan of statistics that are best guess estimates though as I find them to be influenced based on the position one stands in.

So of these results we can see that Volumes of “Craft Beer” increased by 14% in 2011, where as it was 13% in 2010. We can see the volume in Barrels is displayed so I broke that down to ‘Litres’ as that is what most other Beer Companies report in.

So how does this compare to some of the big Boys in the industry? Everyone says their beer volumes are down, but really are ever going to catch up?

Craft Brewers = 672,836,478 Litres in 2011

ABInbev =  4,700,000,000 Litres in 2011 (Less than 14% of ABInBev Volume)

Sam Adams =145,000,000 Litres in 2011 (It isn’t clear to me if SAM is included in BA results)

Molson Coors = 1,220,000,000 Litres in 2011 (Craft Brewers 55% of Volume of Molson Coors)

A report by company Euromonitor stated that Beer Volumes are down 3% overall in the last year, but beer companies have been able to stabilize their bottom line by increasing prices on specific brands. So although we can say we are catching up with the Big Boys, we have to look at it from a realistic sense, we are achieving growth, but we’ll never ‘overtake and destroy’ like some beer nerds would like.

An interesting interview with Hindy from Brooklyn discussed the changes in the beer market/industry and possible trends that have occurred. I subscribe to the Shanken Newsletter which I highly recommend for booze news.

Shanken asked “ What are the biggest challenges facing craft brewers today?”

Steve Hindy: The issue of succession is a big concern for my generation of craft brewers. Some have answers to it, but I think others will sell out to bigger brewers. All of the big brewers who aren’t in this category are interested in entering it, and those that are already in it are aiming to expand their craft presence.

Its funny its not unlike what I have discussed in previous posts on Trends in Beer or when larger companies eye smaller brewers. We have seen this last year Goose Island and Terrapin brewing both get paid chunks of money to impart some of their wealth of Craft beer onto the big boys, and we’ll definitely see more.

In reading various Financial reports for 2011 results we can see that the Large Companies are aware of the impact of Craft Taps on the volume, but they are spending more money on branding and marketing to increase market share. The big companies can look to target new growth markets for beer, where craft brewers don’t have million dollar marketing budgets.

If anything I was most surprised in looking at Sam Adams results for the previous few years, though I dont regularly drink their beers, I do feel that I have a new respect for the growth of their market share. Who knew their share price was Post $100/share? and aside from their Utopia Beer they release every year they put out some interesting mixed packs of beer. We even have the Lager in Australia.

What sort of Results do you wish we could see from Brewers Association?