Domestic Beer Market Rebounds in 2012
After three consecutive years of declining sales, the $78 billion a year U.S. beer market showed positive growth in 2012, with domestically produced beer volumes increasing by 1.2%. One category – the craft or specialty beer market saw their volume increase by 15%, following 12% growth the previous year. Although only 7% of the beer market today, this craft segment consumes about 21% of the malt produced in the U.S. Craft beer sales have nearly doubled in the past five years to more than $12 billion last year and are projected to increase to $18 billion annually in the next five years. According to the Brewers Association which represents craft brewers, the hottest consumer segment for craft beers is millennials (25 to 34 year olds) who report consumption levels as high as 50%, with taste and local appeal as key factors driving their rising consumption.
Anheuser Busch Inbev, the U.S. and world’s largest brewing company and the largest buyer of Idaho barley, reported an increase of about 1% in U.S. beer sales volume last year. They attributed their gains to an improving employment picture, beer product innovations and favorable weather that encouraged beer drinking. ABI noted that beer sales volume returned to positive trends particularly in convenience stores which are the largest outlets for their mega beer brands.