Photo Cred: Ian Steele
Throughout the pandemic, the beer industry has been almost-literally rolling with the punches. From micro to macro, the beer industry has been consistently shut down, opened up, restricted, eased back, and more, which has made for a wild ride. Many breweries have been able to sustain their operations due to relaxed distribution restrictions, which has made for some interesting sales trends- microbreweries/craft producers are seeing an overall increase in sales, where the big-boy macrobreweries are reporting declines.
This week, for instance, Brewbound reported that Molson-Coors has seen a 15.1% decline in comparison to this time last year. Molson-Coors attributes a large portion of this market shift to can shortages, which is currently the bulk of their business, as demand for kegs “… in the US has went to zero”. While I would never hold ill-will for the hard-working people of the industry, this particular statistic is indicative of a shift to supporting local. Of course, buying a 30-rack of the beers that fueled many of the parties from your high school years is easy and cheap, but it doesn’t help the little guys.
In addition to Molson-Coors, AB Inbev is also reporting a decline in sales from 2019. AB Inbev reports a decline of 17.2% in beer volume alone, as well as a 15.5% decline in non-beer volume, according to Brewbound. Overall, however, both of these beer mega-producers are projecting market share stability, and remain hopeful for the future. In total contrast of these declining numbers, AB Inbev reports that their market share in the hard seltzer segment nearly doubled, which means this corporate giant isn’t worried just yet. The fight for craft beer rages on, but the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel shines bright as ever. The passionate people behind the craft beer industry will push ever-forward with their craft, and we will make it through.