After a strong start to 2015 (3 percent increase in January), traffic trends for the on-premise channel moderated and remained weak through the rest of the year (1.2 percent decrease FY15). Last year’s World Cup created tough summer comps, and holiday timing dampened traffic during the latest four-week period (2.6 percent through December 27).

Share changes between alcohol beverage categories: Beer unit share was down 1.1 ppts during the latest four weeks, in line with full year losses (down 1 ppts FY15). Wine share was flat throughout 2015 (0 ppts), while spirits picked up share (1 ppts during December, 0.9 ppts for FY15).  

Total Alcohol: Total alcohol unit volume was down 2.7 percent for FY 2015 and down 4 percent y/y during the latest four weeks ending December 27. Alcohol dollar sales were up 0.4 percent for FY15 versus total on-premise food and beverage dollar sales up 2 percent driven by food dollars up 2.9 percent.

Beer: Beer unit growth was down 4.7 percent for FY15—slowing to 4.8 percent decrease during 4Q15 and 6.2 percent drop during the latest four weeks ending December 27, which was partially hit by the timing of Christmas falling on a Friday. Beer dollar sales were down 1.8 percent for FY15 driven by 2.9 percent price/mix.

Beer Segments: Craft unit volume declined during 2015 (2.3 percent drop y/y for FY15), but still gained share from other categories (0.8 ppts for FY15); Premium Lights were the major share donors (1.1 fall ppts for FY15); Import’s performance improved throughout the year (up 0.2 ppts in 4Q15/L4W), but still ended the year nearly flat (0.1 ppts drop for FY15); while cider’s performance declined throughout the year (0 ppts during 4Q15) ending the year gaining slightly (0.1 ppts increase for FY 15).

Overall Spirits: Spirits ended the year with nearly flat unit volume (0.3 percent decrease y/y FY15, 1.4 percent fall during the latest four weeks ending December 27). Spirits dollar sales were up 2.5 percent for FY15 driven by 2.8 percent price/mix.

Spirits Categories: Performance of clear spirits improved in 2015—Vodka ended the year up 0.3 ppts (propelled by Tito’s), Tequila was the biggest category gainer (0.8 ppts), Gin also grew share (0.2 ppts), while Rum declined (0.4 ppts). Irish was the major dark spirits gainer (0.6 ppts), while Fireball was a significant drag on the Bourbons, Blends category (0.9 ppts). Canadians and Brandy/Cognac gained (0.2/0.1 ppts), while Scotch declined (0.1 ppts).

Craft Spirits: Domestic Craft Spirits were up nearly 40 percent y/y during FY15, ending the year at just over 10 percent of spirits (latest four weeks ending December 27).

Overall Wine: Wine unit volumes were 4.1 percent decrease y/y during the latest four weeks, versus 2.4 fall for FY15. Wine dollar sales were up 0.1 percent for FY15 driven by price/mix up 2.4 percent.

Wine Varietals: The biggest 2015 gainers were Sauvignon Blanc, Prosecco, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Major donors were Merlot, Riesling, and Malbec.

Beverage, Industry News