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2020 Consumer Trends

2019 was an interesting year for craft beer, seeing it stray further than ever from the ideals of beer purity laws from a bygone Bavarian era. While hops, barley, water and yeast are as relevant as ever, adjuncts have mostly lost the purist stigma they held not long ago. In fact, additives of all kinds are largely what are fueling the latest craft beer craze. Let’s pick apart the data and see what we can extrapolate about the state of beer and where it may be headed.

Total dollar sales for all beer over the last 52 weeks rung in at more than $36 billion, which is up 2.8 percent from the previous year, while total volume sales were up just 0.4 percent, pointing to continuing customer willingness to pay more money for beer, along with gradual, consistent inflation, which has contributed to higher prices among most commodities. While the days of the $8 dollar six-pack are more or less gone, there’s more to blame than simply inflation. The styles that are commanding the most attention also require a ton of raw materials – namely massive hop, fruit and grain bills, which drive prices up considerably. Often, the selling point is more to do with the quality of a special ingredient rather than the quantity – think name-brand, designer hops or Madagascar vanilla with Ceylon cinnamon sticks.

The Numbers
As always, the data we’ve examined comes from IRI Worldwide, a market research firm that tracks category-wide sales trends of beer sold in numerous retail outlets and then produces a monthly report of its findings. These findings can be used to provide real-time insight into the ever-changing beer marketplace, both Craft and Macro. They can also help industry participants adapt to the marketplace and help you make more informed choices as a consumer. To save you the spreadsheet-trawling, we’ve pieced together the most important changes in beer sales over the year 2019 and will compare them to the prior year.

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