Michelob Ultra

US beer sales hit 2020 record

May 20, 2020
By Alana House

The US beer category has seen its biggest sales week since July 2019, with dollar sales in off-premise retailers topping $US983.6 million.

The week ending May 9 was the highest sales week since last year’s July 4 holiday week , according to Nielsen data.

Among the booming segments was non-alcoholic beer, which registered one of its strongest weeks of the year, increasing 44.4%.

Super premium dollar sales increased 32.7%, with AB InBev’s Michelob Ultra brand taking the No. 1 growth brand spot.

Bump Williams Consulting (BWC) also released analysis, citing data from IRI that showed dollar sales increased 33.3% for the week ending May 10 and outpaced the weekly average during the COVID-19 period of +24%.

Dollar sales of beer year-to-date are up 16%, to nearly $14 billion. However, while the off-premise growth has been impressive, the sales increases in haven’t been enough to make up for the loss of on-premise sales.

Craft beer brands in particular have been heavily affected by COVID-19 shutting down bars, restaurants, taprooms and tasting rooms.

Alcoholic seltzer tipped to grow to 10% of beer category

The triple-digit dollar sales growth of hard seltzer brands has also continued, increasing 334% compared to the same one-week period.

Category leader White Claw alone contributing 18% of the beer category’s total dollar growth.

The hard seltzer segment will take 10% of the US beer category dollar sales by summer according to Cowen analyst Vivien Azer.

Bud Light Seltzer

White Claw and Boston Beer Company’s Truly Hard Seltzer continue to dominate the market, holding more than 70% share. AB InBev’s Bud Light Seltzer, which launched in the first quarter of 2020, saw initially strong sales, but is now in a distant third place.

“Truly and White Claw certainly established themselves as the two leaders in the category,” Azer told Brewbound. “AB InBev had some initial success with Bud Light, but the share peaked in February, right? Basically, it seems like they got a lot of trial on the Super Bowl, but then in the last few months, their share has been down.”

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