Close Menu
db Reader

Craft beer slowdown is real and getting worse

Has the craft beer bubble burst? Contributor Dan Fox – also known as Hey Beer Dan – points to some statistics that could signal an irreversible decline.

Is the craft category being put on ice? (Photo: Pixabay)
Is the craft category being put on ice? (Photo: Pixabay)

No single market-research tool can accurately capture every possible market dynamic. And every such tool has its weak points. With that said, ignoring the declining craft-beer growth rate documented by as recognised and authoritative a resource as Nielsen, is unwise at best, catastrophic at worst.

Over the recent past, here’s what Nielsen data has said about the volume growth rate of the craft-beer segment. The raw measures may be imperfect, but chances are the trend they chronicle is quite real.

Nielsen Craft-Beer Growth Rates (Annualized*) (Data sources linked)

2014 12-month ……………………………………………………..+20%
2015 12-month as of June 20th……………………………….+10.2%
2015 year-to-date as of December…………………………..+8.7%
2015 4-week as of December 19th…………………………..+4.3%

2786923

Reactions

The gut response from many craft loyalists to what they see as threatening news of this kind is immature: Question the data, deride anyone who mentions it, and look for examples of fast-growing craft brands as if they weren’t included in the Nielsen data. In other words: disbelief, nastiness, or off-point argument. Pretty childish.

In its latest issue, Beer Marketers Insights identified a more rational, businesslike response: Attuned to market dynamics and with an eye to the future, four of 2015’s five fastest-growing craft brands – Lagunitas, Firestone Walker, Ballast Point, and Founders – all consummated deals with BigBeer. It amounts to a shared view by the strongest craft brewers that continuing their success in a slowing category means real change from the past.

For children, change can be a scary thing.

For adults, it can spell opportunity.

It looks like you're in Asia, would you like to be redirected to the Drinks Business Asia edition?

Yes, take me to the Asia edition No