According to GuestMetrics, 3Q13 was the weakest of the year thus far for all three of the alcohol categories, and 4Q13 is likely off to a soft start as well.

In the latest 4 weeks ending October 6, on-premise beer volumes were down 5.2 percent.  This compares to volumes down 3.7 percent YTD. In the most recent 4 weeks, beer lost 50 basis points of share of total alcoholic beverages, in line with the 50 basis point share loss YTD.

Beer volume share is down 50bps vs. total alcohol beverage in the on-premise channel in the latest 4 weeks while wine share is up 30bps and spirits share is up 20bps.  From a value stand point, beer share is down 40bps while wine is share is flat (due to lower price increases) and spirits value share is up 40bps.

 Beer volumes in bars/clubs have been particularly difficult, declining 8.1 percent in the most recent 4 weeks vs. -4.7 percent year-to-date.  Beer is losing the largest y/y share of alcohol mix in bars/clubs, down 80 basis points year-to-date.  Beer volumes in casual dining are down 5.3 percent in the latest 4 weeks vs. -4.1 percent in YTD and beer is losing 30 basis points market share YTD.   In fine dining, beer volumes are down 1.5 percent in the latest 4wks vs. -0.8 percent year-to-date and is losing 40 basis points market share YTD.

The only two with beer segments with positive volume growth in 3Q compared to the prior year are craft at +3.4 percent and cider at +52 percent (both growing significantly slower than in off-premise due to the overall traffic declines in on-premise as well as the higher share base both enjoy in the on-premise vs. off-premise).  Premium Light has had a difficult year, going from -10 percent in 1Q to -9 percent in 2Q to -12 percent in 3Q.  Premium Regular volumes were -6 percent during the first half of the year, but decelerated to -8 percent in 3Q, and Imports have been down mid-single digits for most of the year.

Despite the moderating volume growth in craft, its year-over-year gain in beer volume share has steadily increased throughout the year, from 150 basis points in 1Q to 170 basis points in 2Q to 190 basis points in 3Q.  Cider has gained about 40-50 basis points of y/y share during each of the quarters, while Imports lost 70 basis points in 1Q, 60 basis points in 2Q, and only 40 basis points in 3Q.

From a style standpoint, IPA continues to gain the most share (up 110bps) along with Bitter Ale (up 40bps), and Belgian Wit Ale (up 30bps) and the seasonal Pumpkin/Fruit (up 60bps).

In the latest 4 weeks the brands with the greatest share gains are Angry Orchard, Redds Apple Ale, Lagunitas IPA and Dos Equis.  Brands gaining the greatest gains in distribution in the latest 4 weeks ( percent of locations carrying) are Angry Orchard, Redds Apple Ale, Bud Black Crown, Goose Island, Lagunitas, and Third Shift.

Beverage, Finance, Industry News