This week, the National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) released the Beer Purchasers’ Index (BPI) for August 2021. The August 2021 overall index of 74 matches the August 2020 reading of 74. However, while the aggregate reading is the same, the components that make up that aggregate reading are very different. Most importantly is the dramatic change in the FMB/seltzer BPI reading that took a 34-point dip, falling from 92 in August 2020 to 58 in August 2021.
The “at-risk” inventory measures are still below 50, signaling continued supply constraints in the distribution industry for end-of-summer sales. One exception is the FMB/seltzer category, which is expanding with an index reading of 58 for August 2021. Note, the FMB/seltzer segment will continue to expand and grow given it has an above 50 reading. Additionally, the lower index relative to August 2020 implies that more distributors are reporting they are now settling into “about the same” amount of product as last year. In other words, the segment’s momentum has slowed down significantly.
About NBWA’s Beer Purchasers’ Index: BPI is the only forward-looking indicator for distributors to measure expected beer demand. The index surveys beer distributors’ purchases across different segments and compares them to previous years. A reading greater than 50 indicates the segment is expanding, while a reading below 50 indicates the segment is contracting.
Looking across the segments for August:
- The index for imports continued into expansion territory for a reading of 66 in August 2021, well above the 60 reading from August 2020.
- The craft index posted a reading of 59 for August 2021 compared to a reading of 54 in August 2020. This is the fifth monthly reading at or above 50 for craft.
- The premium lights index posted a reading of 57 for August 2021, well below the August 2020 reading of 70. Premium lights continue to post index readings above the 50 mark in 2021.
- The regular domestic beer segment index posted a reading of 41 for August 2021, which is now significantly below the August 2020 reading of 53.
- The below premium segment weighed in at 37, taking another significant hit year-over-year from last August’s reading of 56.
- The FMB/seltzer segment continues to see significant declines this summer. This segment took another big hit, falling 34 points from 92 in August 2020 to 58 in August 2021.This reading of 58 is much closer to 2016 and 2017 results for FMB segment. A reading of 58 indicates the category is still growing, but it is down substantially from readings earlier this year.
- Finally, the cider segment remains below 50 with a reading of 43 in August 2021 compared to 40 in August 2020.