Over the weekend, I got the latest newsletter from Michael Kuderka of the DBBB, the book of Domestic Brewers and their Bottled Brands, published by MC Bassett. One highlight was some interesting trends from recent IRI data.
If you’re not familiar with IRI data, it’s one of the two major data reporters, along with Nielsen, of sales trends along a variety of products. IRI is short for Information Resources, Inc., though the company is now known as the Symphony IRI Group. IRI data only covers certain kinds of retailers that sell beer, primarily grocery stores and convenience stores, and usually only chains at that. So it’s of limited use, but because the sales data is collected from consistent sources, it is fairly reliable and can show trends. I used to see it all the time, when I was a beer buyer, because most package brewers subscribe to one or the other service and usually bring carefully mined data to show their own positive trends. Anyway, here’s the interesting bits.
Fat Tire, from New Belgium, apparently “made more gains than any other brand when considering both year-over-year case sales and total dollars,” with case sales up 26% and total dollars just under $50 million. What that doesn’t take into account, of course, is that New Belgium opened several new states and a good portion of that bump may have been from being in new markets that weren’t in the data last year. But that does catapult them into the number 3 spot, making the top three best-selling craft beers as follows:
- Samuel Adams Boston Lager
- Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
- New Belgium Fat Tire
And here’s some additional trends and brands to watch, at least according to IRI:
- IPAs: Trending up 29%!
- Sierra Nevada seasonals: Up 23%
- Magic Hat #9: Up 22%
- Alaskan Brewing seasonals: Up 21%
- Amber Ale & Pale Ale also trending up