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Beer Marketer's INSIGHTS

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Beer Marketer's INSIGHTS, our flagship newsletter, is published 23X a year. For the last 38 years, it has frequently been the first and often only publication to report the most important beer industry facts, trends, and insights. Each issue features four info-packed pages. Inside, you'll find the latest news and numbers about the US beer business, with a special focus on exclusive articles and analysis. Readers of Beer Marketer's INSIGHTS get the info necessary to stay abreast of the latest industry events, and the understanding of those events. Here's just a small sampling of what you'll find inside:

Beer Marketer's INSIGHTS is written by the most experienced and knowledgeable staff serving the industry. More execs keep up-to-date by reading Beer Marketer's INSIGHTS than any other beer industry publication.

Join thousands of beer industry executives, ad agency representatives, government regulators, bankers, analysts, attorneys, and others who need to know as much as possible about the beer industry. These execs benefit from INSIGHTS' authoritative reporting and analysis. Put that advantage to work for you. A one year-subscription is priced at $750 dollars (add $25 outside of US). As with all our newsletters, we offer a money-back guarantee: if Beer Marketer's INSIGHTS fails to meet your expectations, we will gladly refund the unused portion of your subscription.

No matter how you look at it, it’s been tuff start for 2017 volume.  Domestic brewers’ taxpaid shipments down 2 mil bbls, 3.6% for 4 mos, estimates Beer Inst economist Michael Uhrich.  And Feb-Apr drop of 2.3 mil bbls, -5.3% is “worst three month period in over ten years” for that measure, Bernstein analyst Trevor Stirling noticed.  Worse even than 2009, when total US volume closed out -2%.  Jan-Apr imports just flat, following somewhat shocking 8% drop in Apr.  That’s big disconnect, since IRI shows 7% import growth and Constellation depletions up 9-10% in first qtr. (Constellation brought in extra beer last yr related to recall and becoming independent of AB production.)  Now known yr-to-date US shipments off 2 mil bbls, 3%. Yikes! For 12 mos, taxpaids off 3.2 mil bbls, almost 2%.  Imports still up 4.4%.  That means US biz down 0.9% for latest 12 mos, vs a 0.3% or so gain in calendar 2016.  That’s more than a full pt swing.  Or 2 mil bbls.

Publishing Info

  • Year 2017
  • Volume 49
  • Issue # 11
“I don’t think we’ve taken share directly from beer.  Frankly, it’s arrogant and embarrassing when I hear spirit industry executives pounding their chests about how clever they have been at taking share from beer.”  So said Sazerac prexy Mark Brown at Beer Insights Spring Conference, perhaps surprising those who may have expected a bit of chest pounding.  Sazerac is 166-yr old spirit co that doubled its biz every 5 yrs for 35 yrs, now 50X bigger than in 1981, #5 globally, and oh yeah, owned by Bill Goldring, who also owns 50% of MC mega distrib Crescent Crown.  So Mark, who started career in beer biz, knows whereof he speaks.  Yet question remains: why has spirits outperformed beer and gained significant share of alc bev biz in US? “Convergence of unrelated events,” in Mark’s view.  Big beer “has its own set of problems which it created over 30 years,” primarily “sustained sophomoric advertising and abandonment of market sectors” and commoditized beer, to which “consumers responded accordingly.”  Ad comment no surprise and acknowledged by many in beer.  Market sector point is that US big brewers, in efforts to drive big brands, “left a huge white space” that craft brewers filled with…

Publishing Info

  • Year 2017
  • Volume 48
  • Issue # 10
AB Gets Wicked Weed, Heineken Gets Tony Mageed   On May 3, AB struck again, apparently not quite done fillin’ in its regional craft portfolio.  This time AB filled southeast hole by purchasing one of NC’s most highly regarded brewers, Wicked Weed, known for sours and strong IPA portfolio.  Terms not disclosed, natch, but deal follows familiar pattern of owners staying on, saying they’re happy as hell to partner with global brewer that will allow ’em to do bigger and better things.  Immediate response from craft community pretty harsh as geeks loved these brands, but AB’s been thru it before.    Next day, dime dropped that Heineken will buy rest of Lagunitas at undisclosed price.  Recall, Heineken bought half of Lagunitas in 2015 for over $450 mil (implying value over $900 mil), and there was likely back-end adjustment as even Lagunitas hasn’t hit growth targets.  So final valuation likely less than what Constellation paid for (much smaller, and now slower) Ballast Point and implied valuation of TSG investment in (significantly smaller) BrewDog.  Tony Magee stays on as “global craft czar” and Lagunitas will stay separate from Heineken USA.  But Lagunitas has plenty to learn from HUSA, Tony sez.  Then too,…

Publishing Info

  • Year 2017
  • Volume 48
  • Issue # 9
Just as beer marketers failed to stop spirits from taking occasions and consumption from beer over the last decade, so too they failed to improve beer’s image among and consumption by women.  At the same time, and not unrelated, per capita beer consumption among adults continues to decline in the US.  So does beer’s share of adult per capita absolute alcohol consumption.  The table below shows that 55% of men (age 21+) were beer drinkers in 2006, according to Mediamark surveys.  That edged up to 58% in 2011 but dipped back to 57% in 2016.  The percentage of women who drink beer did not budge during this 10-yr period.  Measured as an index, men score 131 in propensity to drink beer vs 72 for women, a 60-point gap that has not changed at all over the last decade.  In sharp contrast, spirits suffers virtually no such gap.  We don’t have Mediamark’s spirits data for 2006, but surveys from 2011 and 2016 show not only slight increases in the percentages of both men and women who drink spirits over the last 5 yrs, but very slight differences between those numbers.  It’s just a few percentage points and only 7-8 pts difference…

Publishing Info

  • Year 2017
  • Volume 48
  • Issue # 8
Tuff Dec trends for beer biz continued into early 2017. With Q1 nearly in the books, sluggish start in Nielsen all-outlet scans and available shipments data differ sharply from last yr’s Q1.  In data thru Mar 25, just one week shy of full qtr, volume down 0.9% and $$ sales up an anemic 0.3% in Nielsen scans.  In Q1 last yr, industry volume up 2.3% and $$ trend a rosy +5.1%.  Wha’ happened?  Basically, imports kept pace and economy trends improved a bit, but premiums declined at faster pace, craft really slowed and FMBs reversed compared to Q1 last yr; cider still down high single-digits. Note too, while biz got avg price pop of +2.8% in Q1 last yr from trade up/price hikes, it’s just 1.2% so far this yr.  Meanwhile, Jan-Feb shipments considerably softer than scans.  US biz -2.4%, 750K bbls, with domestic brewers down 4% and imports up just 1% for 2 mos.  Compares to near 2% gain in Jan-Feb shipments trend last yr.  Wha’ happened?  Combo of Easter timing (pushed to mid-Apr), loss of Leap Day, crappy Calif weather and inventory drawdown (AB and MC inventories higher at end of 2016) blamed for blahs across board.  Will…

Publishing Info

  • Year 2017
  • Volume 48
  • Issue # 7
Set the scene.  Snowstorm Stella rages in northeast.  Attendees of NABCA’s Legal Symposium in DC hatch escape plans.  Atty Richard Blau reminds: “The Gods of Ancient Greece chafed” at the kind of “orderly” mkts sought by regulators of the oft stormy, sometimes chaotic alc bev biz.  With eyes on airline skeds, Richard and colleagues peeked into Pandora’s Box of hot topics and challenges now engaging regulators and industry attys alike.  They included lotsa familiar issues: pay to play, CatMan, tied house, direct sales, private label and more.  Here are highlights. Pay to Play in MA and CA  Turns out pay to play ain’t confined to US.  As Mass ABCC enforcement chief Ted Mahony revisited pay-to-play story that broke in late 2014, Ted’s counterpart in Alberta, Canada described very similar doings in his province.  Ted acknowledged key statute in MA very much open to interpretation.  Distrib Craft Brew Guild (which paid state/fed fines) has serious questions about status/clarity of Mass law/regs it’s accused of violating and is challenging charges in court.  Key points from Ted: 1) before pay-to-play charges broke on Twitter in 2014, he and his agents focused on public safety, not trade practice complaints (which were rare), and would…

Publishing Info

  • Year 2017
  • Volume 48
  • Issue # 6
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