Last week, we reported about the rise of India pale ales (IPAs) in on-premise restaurant sales according to data from GuestMetrics. We also noted to read the results with a grain of salt considering the top IPA listed was a Widmer Brothers beer no longer in production. The CEO of GuestMetrics followed up with us to clarify and explain a little more about its database — in particular what was up with Widmer’s Broken Halo IPA getting top billing?
First off, the company has 9,000-plus beer brands, 20,000-plus wine brands, 14,000 types of cocktails and 24,000 food menu items currently in its database, and it is growing these numbers constantly. GuestMetrics gets its data from the point of sale (POS) systems at restaurants and bars. When the data that comes back, the company maps it to either an existing master item in the database or they create a new master item.
“We researched how Widmer Brothers Broken Halo IPA showed up in our database as having sales in 2012,” said Bill Pecoriello, GuestMetrics CEO in an email to Craft Brewing Business. “In more than 95 percent of the cases, the item came in off the restaurant/bar POS as ‘Widmer IPA’ and because our master item list had a ‘Widmer Brothers Broken Halo IPA’ in it from historical transactions, one of our mappers mapped the item to that master item name. Given the fast rotation of some of these craft brands, we should have just kept it at the level of ‘Widmer IPA’ because it wasn’t identified as ‘Broken Halo’ or their current IPAs such as ‘Rotator Series,’ or ‘Pitch Black.’”
In some of the cases a bar or restaurant just didn’t change the label of the Widmer IPA in its POS and were ringing up the latest Widmer offering under the old brand. So, that’s how that particular item popped up in the report popped. Regardless of specific brand name, the company’s research shows the dominance of Widmer within the IPA segment in GuestMetrics’ footprint.
And just what is the company’s footprint? The current database that GuestMetrics’ releases have been based on have $8 billion in transactions ($4 billion in sales for 2011, $4 billion in 2012) and are based on 2,000 locations. Pecoriello noted that the company will be adding about 2,000 locations per quarter — and it already now at 5,000 locations.
The splits of chain versus independent are pretty close to the actual U.S. restaurant on-premise universe, the mix of casual versus bar versus fine dining is skewed to fine dining and slightly under skewed to casual and bar/nightclub versus the actual on premise universe. The company plans to reverse some of these skews in its subsequent database additions.
At a nationwide level he feels very good about the category and sub-segment trends. For example: Craft gained 1.3 share in the database in 2012; IPA gained most share within styles; lagers lost the most share led by Miller Lite, Budweiser, Bud Light losing share; highest priced craft gaining share among craft brands (and within the food segment, chicken wings is a top growth category, FYI).
“We feel very good about the makeup of the 5,000 locations we will be releasing within the next month,” Pecoriello said. “There will still be some regional skews in the 5,000 as we continue to build toward 20,000-plus locations, but still pretty good geographic representation.”
Be sure to check out GuestMetrics and its beverage/food trend reports on your own and see what you think.