Craft Beer growth is still doing well despite some rumbles, stumbles and bumbles. According to the Brewers Association overall U.S. beer volume sales were down 1% in 2017, whereas craft brewer sales continued to grow at a rate of 5% by volume, reaching 12.7% of the U.S. beer market by volume. Craft production grew the most for microbreweries.
Retail dollar sales of craft increased 8%, up to $26.0 billion, and now account for more than 23% of the $111.4 billion U.S. beer market. Craft beer still has a LONG way to go to become mainstream in terms of volume and revenue but it is still growing.
The same can not be said of the largest Big Beer brands.
Sales of the 31 biggest beer brands in the U.S. declined by 6.5 percent from 2012 to 2017. Yes declined.
Looking at the volume shipped over that same five year period, there were 13 major beer brands (with at least a million barrels shipped) that have actually seen sales increase.
Mexican Beer Brands Are Growing. A Lot.
#Modelo Especial topped the site’s list by more than doubling sales from 2012 to 2017 with a 126.8 percent increase. #Cerveza proved popular elsewhere on the list as well: Dos Equis took the # 4 spot with sales increases of 41.8 percent, Corona Light was # 5 with a 26.3 percent sales bump, and #Corona Extra landed in the 7th spot thanks to a 20.2 percent sales increase.
Michelob Ultra with a 101.3 percent increase, was # 2 as the only other major brand besides Modelo to see sales double. Coming in at # 3, Stella Artois also nearly saw its U.S. sales double with growth of 90.8 percent.
Moving further down the list, things get a bit more interesting, if not necessarily more upmarket. #Bud Ice (# 6), #Coors Banquet (# 8), Steel Reserve (# 10), and Busch Light (# 13) all made the list — though as the last beer to make the cut, Busch Light did so just barely with a five-year sales change of just 0.4 percent. Still, the growth in these brands proves that not all drinkers are looking to move to fancier IPAs. Or more importantly branding and marketing wins more customers than product.