I was speaking with a major retailer recently and they mentioned that one of the most common questions they get from brewers right now is, “What are your plans for 12-packs in the future?” While I can’t find out what retailers are planning for spring resets, I thought I’d do a quick mini-post with three graphs on 12-pack performance so brewers can at least see the data . Because of the weird comparables that COVID-19 has created, I’m doing this by number of shares, which will be more helpful when thinking about things like retail shelf space allocation.
Here’s a graph showing how COVID-19 increased volume by 12 packs in crafting (the four weeks ending March 22, 2020 becomes its own point as it overlaps the time periods). Unless otherwise noted, all data is for IRI Group, US total, multiple outlets plus convenience and alcohol for Brewers Association (BA) vessels.
Since the time COVID-19 hit, the average 12-pack share has increased by 0.6 share points. That’s not a ton of share change, but in a world where 70% of crafting is packaged (educated estimate on time since COVID-19), that’s about 100,000 new barrels in 12-packs.
You might suspect from the graph above that this effect diminishes over time, but that’s partly due to seasonality. To check this, here is the share change trend from 2019 since COVID-19.
So if we remove the first two months of the pandemic – the average line starts in June – the share change from 2019 is quite stable and has persisted through this summer at about the same average as I note above.
The final chart shows a comparison of 12-pack Multi-Store and Convenience (MULO+C) vs. Liquor Stores.
Alcohol is the smallest channel, so MULO+C is driving the overall change), but it’s interesting to see that a gap has opened up between the channels in the 12-pack share. MULO+ C saw 12-pack’s share increase by 0.5 split points, while alcohol saw it increase by 1.3 split points (or putting it together, the average spread increased by 0, 8 split point and continues to increase). I don’t have a good explanation for this, but it should be noted that offsite channels differ and the sustainability of any move to 12-packs may vary by sub-channel.