Sales volume of on-premise craft beer decreased in September, October, and November, declining an average of 6 percent versus a year ago, reports data insights firm Restaurant Sciences.

While new craft beers are introduced daily, the number of craft beers sold in restaurants, nightclubs, and bars has decreased 19 percent versus a year ago. Also, notes Restaurant Sciences, the decline spans more than half of the 1,000 craft beer families—representing more than 5,700 craft beer brands—that the research firm tracks.

Craft beer volume was down 13 percent at family-dining establishments, 10 percent at white-tablecloth restaurants, and four percent at casual-dining restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. More than 70 percent of the craft beer decline was in draft volume sales.

Several reasons may account for the decline, says Chuck Ellis, president and CEO of Restaurant Sciences. “Consumers may be balking at price increases in the 3 to 7 percent range this fall across restaurants, bars, and nightclubs,” he explains. “Additionally, restaurants and bars may have reached a saturation point in adding new beers to an already hyper-competitive shelf or tap set.”

Other numbers worth noting, from the Brewers Association:

  • Craft beers make up only 10 percent of all beers sold.
  • In 2012, craft beer sales grew 15 percent, compared to the entire beer industry, which grew by less than 1.5 percent.
  • In 2012, the retail value of craft beer surpassed $10 billion, a first for the segment.
  • Craft beer barrel production has grown from 4.4 million to 7.3 million barrels over the last five years.

By Joann Whitcher

Bar Management, Beverage, Industry News