USA: Craft beer sales slowing down in 2018

Growth of craft beer sales in the United States has slowed down to only 1.7% in the first half of 2018 according to market research firm IRI Worldwide. This is a significant drop compared to the years before.

Following last year’s trend, several of the bigger craft beer breweries (which are partly  not considered craft beer according to the strict rules of the Brewers Association), have suffered major declines. Craft Brew Alliance, New Belgium Brewing, and Deschutes Brewery were down 8.0 percent, 10.4 percent, and 10.4 percent, respectively. Others like Sierra Nevada Brewing have more or less stable sales. Last but not least there are also other large-scale craft breweries , which still enjoy growing sales.

Boston Beer Company, which was hardest hit last year by falling sales (, 22.5.2017) could recover. However, a positive push came mainly from non-beer products like Angry Orchard Rosé cider, which was introduced earlier this year and has generated more than $17 million in off-premise sales year-to-date, according to IRI. The growth of Truly Spiked Seltzer and Twisted Tea products have also helped to push sales of Boston Beer Co. up by 16% up to now. Stepchild was again the beer range including flagship brand Samuel Adams

Earlier this year, Dave Burwick, new CEO and President of Boston Beer Company lined out the strategy of the company:  "As we go forward, we remain committed to our three priorities. Our number one priority is returning Samuel Adams to growth through continued packaging, innovation, promotion and brand communication initiatives, while maintaining Angry Orchard and Twisted Tea's momentum and ensuring Truly Spiked & Sparkling's position as a leader in the hard sparkling water category.”

Positive sales were also recorded by Founders Brewing (+51.4%), Oskar Blues Brewing (+20.4 %),  Firestone Walker (u+14.9%), Dogfish Head (+13.6%), Stone Brewing (+10.0%), and  Bell’s Brewery (+4%).

The two biggest players outside the craft beer segment, AB InBev and Miller Coors lost 2.1 and 2.6% respectivlely, while Constellation Brands, another big player, could profit from the rising trend of imported beers and gained 12%.

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