In the U.S. beer universe, imports are thriving as domestic premium and domestic subpremium brews continue to falter.
The imported beer segment finds itself in the catbird seat (along with domestic superpremiums and crafts) at the convenience-store level. Total U.S. c-store dollar sales for full-year 2018 grew 10.4% to $3.68 billion, while case sales grew 7.8%, according to Chicago-based IRI.
Meanwhile, the entire consolidated domestic beer market dipped 1.6% in dollar sales to $13.9 billion, propped up primarily by the popularity of domestic superpremiums, which grew dollars 14.2%.
Beverage Information Group’s 2018 Beer Handbook, released last October and based on 2017 sales figures and case activity, pointed out that imports from Mexico “continue to thrive as consumers see these brands as a step up in flavor and quality from macro U.S. lagers, while also representing a product that’s appealingly authentic."
The craft beer segment in c-stores grew 3.7% in dollar sales and 2.6% in case sales in 2018, according to IRI. Beverage Information Group’s handbook noted that “oversaturation of some local/regional markets has hurt craft beer. Another factor impacting craft beer: U.S. consumers have never been more experimental or less brand-loyal.”
Read on for recent activity in the imported beer segment.