For Beer, a “Perfect Storm” Benefits Some Brands, Threatens Others, Finds Technomic

Momentum among smaller brands and categories and higher price tiers continues

Changing consumer taste preferences, varied levels of cost-consciousness and competition from spirits and wine are converging to re-shape the beer industry and its growth opportunities in 2014 and beyond.

“It’s really a perfect storm scenario that’s creating opportunities for some beer marketers and headaches for others,” observes Donna Hood Crecca, Senior Director at Technomic. “An industry once dominated by a handful of brands is now increasingly diverse in terms of producers, styles and flavors. Growth is occurring among the smaller brands and categories while the larger brands are losing volume.”

Consumers are gravitating toward more flavorful and stylistically unique beers, evidenced by the growth of imported beer and craft beer — as well as expansion in flavored malt beverage and cider — and the contraction in mainstream domestic regular and light beer, according to Technomic’s 2014 BeerTAB Report.

Spotlight On: Beer

[View INFOGRAPHIC for specific information about beer trends and consumer engagement with beer.]

In addition, divergent consumer spending patterns are in play. “The core mainstream domestic beer consumer that was impacted by the recession remains somewhat challenged, so value beer is suffering,” says Crecca. “At the same time, many consumers are trading up to higher priced craft, imported and super-premium beers. The result is decline at the lower price tiers and growth at the high end.”

Adding to the scenario is encroachment on traditional beer occasions by spirits and wine. Today’s consumers — Millennials in particular — drink a range of adult beverages, putting beer in contention with cocktails, mixed drinks, table and sparkling wine for on-premise and off-premise purchases. “It’s a challenging time for the industry overall, but some categories and brands are having a breakout year,” says Crecca.

The 2014 BeerTAB Report is part of Technomic’s Trends in Adult Beverage series and provides an in-depth look at national volume and sales information on beer categories, brands and suppliers, as well as actionable outlooks and projections, and consumer insights around beer purchases on-premise and at retail.

Note: This post originally appeared as a company press release.



Only Technomic delivers a 360° view of the food industry. We drive growth and profitability for our clients by providing the most reliable, consumer-grounded, channel-relevant data with forward-looking strategic insights. Our services range from major research studies and management consulting solutions to online databases and simple fact-finding assignments. Our clients include food manufacturers and distributors, restaurants and retailers, other foodservice organizations, and various institutions aligned with the food industry.

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