Picking apart what's going on inside craft segment's growth keeps getting harder and harder, but still a whole lotta strength to report. Strong 4-wk trends for total beer category, including +4% by volume thru Oct 4 in IRI multi-outlet + convenience, spread across most segments. Zero in on dollar sales and craft still chugging along +23% yr-to-date in MULC channel, by IRI's definition. The craft segment gained near 1.3 share of beer $$ so far this year, to 8.4. Total craft growth only just behind import segment on absolute $$ basis, +$408 mil tracked here.
The chart above breaks out craft's yr-to-date $$ growth by various players and groups of brands. So all the way on the left, $8.5-mil decline of four largest Sam Adams brands takes a toll. They're still collectively almost 11 share of craft $$, but down 2.3 share YTD. These 4 top Sam brands (Seasonal, Boston Lager, Variety Pk and Rebel) all down for 4 wks, only Rebel up YTD. Together they're -3.5% thru early Oct. New Belgium only eking out a little bit of $$ growth YTD and for 4-wks, while volume now down in the last month. Sierra and Lagunitas each posting similar absolute $$-growth YTD, between $30-40 mil, around 9% of craft growth each. Sierra's pace right on track with rest of small players, while Lagunitas still outperforming. Also outperforming: three acquired craft brands now tracked by IRI with AB (Goose Island, Blue Point and 10 Barrel). Collectively, they're growing at twice the pace of the rest of craft for 4 wks, and still up over 30% YTD. Much of that is massive growth of Goose IPA, more than tripling YTD.
A group of 7 top craft suppliers collectively represent about 11.5% of craft $$ growth; Gambrinus, CBA, Deschutes, Stone, Bell's, SweetWater and New Glarus all make IRI's top 25 vendor list overall. Separately, their $$ trends vary widely from CBA +4% and Gambrinus +7% to SweetWater up 30% and New Glarus +37%. Don't forget though that IRI still includes hard root beers with craft segment. Two top hard root beers, Not Your Father's and Coney Island, represent 17.5% of craft segment's growth in IRI YTD. NYFRB already bigger than Lagunitas IPA yr-to-date and largest craft brand for 4-wks. Coney Island entrant the #28 craft brand YTD, and bigger than Lagunitas IPA for 4 wks. These brands still making a huge impact.
But craft is not exactly unhealthy without 'em. Take out these 2 hard root beer brands and craft $$ still up 19% YTD. But that's impacted by decline of those big Sam Adams brands: remove them from the picture and craft already back to +23%. The rest of craft, outside of top Sam brands and other top suppliers, represents more than half of craft's absolute $$ growth yr-to-date. In total, this group up 29% thru early Oct.