(TMRZoo.com, August 4, 2008) – The Brewers Association, the trade association representing the majority of U.S. brewing companies, reports beer sales from American craft brewers continue to grow despite a softening economy and challenges with raw materials supply and pricing. Craft beer dollar sales during the first half of 2008 increased 11% compared to this same period in 2007. The Brewers Association attributes this growth to a grassroots movement toward fuller flavored, small batch beers made by independent craft brewers.
According to The Nielsen Company, beer sales are least affected by economic downturns and craft beer in particular is gaining customers from across all segments of those who drink alcoholic beverage.
Locally, Legacy Brewing Co., reports that the company has experienced similar growth, but has well exceeded that of the national average. Legacy Brewing is one of the craft brewing companies contributing to the national growth with a 34% sales increase in the first half of 2008.
“Newer brands by the larger brewers, like Belgian style wheat beers, have huge distribution advantages over beers by independent craft brewers,” said Paul Gatza, Director of the Brewers Association, headquartered in Boulder, CO. “These brands can grow when the large brewers decide they want them to grow with the ability to impact what brands get shelf space and tap handles. At the same time, beer from craft brewers is being requested by the customer, which encourages distributors and retailers to make the beer available.” According to the Brewers Association, 1,420 of the 1,463 U.S. breweries are independent craft brewers.
Experiencing similar trends, David R. Gemmell, president of Legacy Brewing Co. stated that “Not only have we seen excellent growth from our established brands, such as our Belgian-style Midnight Wit and Euphoria ales, but our new products, Hoptimus Prime IPA and Fat Boy Amber Lager have been well received and contributed nicely to our line-up.”
Legacy also reported that the re-introduction of Reading Premium under the Reading Brewing Co. tradename has been very successful, and been a contributing factor in the firm’s overall growth. Gemmell noted, “Reading Premium’s return to the market in draft, bottles and cans has been good, not only for our company, but for the greater Berks County area, as well.” Cans were added to the company’s product line in July and are expected to contribute 15,000 cases to Legacy’s sales over the fiscal second-half.
“The beer appeals to a whole different market from the big beer and specialty beer audience,” Gemmell said. “It plays into that retro concept that is popular right now, especially among the younger demographic.” he concluded.
The Brewers Association reports that in the first half of 2008 volume of beer sold by craft brewers grew by 6.5% totaling an estimated 4 million barrels of beer compared to 3.768 million barrels sold in the first half of 2007. Harry Schuhmacher of Beer Business Daily stated, “Crafts have really taken pricing this year given high input costs, and yet it is still driving volume gains faster than the beer category.”
Legacy Brewing Co. and Reading Brewing Co., are trade names of Legacy Beer Co., LLC, brewer of ales and lagers and is headquartered at 545 Canal Street, Reading, PA. 19602. For more information, visit www.legacybrewing.com and www.readingbeer.com.