Today, the National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) released the Beer Purchasers’ Index (BPI) for November 2021. The November 2021 reading of 51 continues to show the industry is reverting to pre-COVID readings for a more typical reading that occurs this time of year. However, the components that make up the aggregate BPI reading show some very different trends than prior months this year. Most importantly, the dramatic drop in the FMB/seltzer BPI reading continued, falling to an unprecedented 31 from 87 in November 2020. Meanwhile, imports and premium lights are the only segments in solid expansion territory this month. The “at-risk” inventory measures are still below 50 for all the segments except FMB/seltzer, signaling continued supply constraints in the system. Take note of the upward trend in the monthly readings as supply-side challenges resolve over time.
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 November:
The industry numbers will continue to behave erratically over the next few months as shipments, depletions and sales to consumer measures remain out of sync.
- The index for imports continued into expansion territory for a reading of 68 in November 2021, about the same reading as November 2020.
- The craft index fell below 50 for a third month, with a reading of 47 compared to a reading of 55 in November 2020.
- The premium lights index posted a reading of 54, indicating continued expansion, yet the number is still below the November 2020 reading of 70.
- The regular domestic beer segment index is at 38, which is now significantly below the November 2020 reading of 58, yet is still in expansion territory.
- The below premium segment at 29, took another hit year-over-year from the November 2020 reading of 49.
- The FMB/seltzer took another big hit, falling over 50 points to 31 in November 2021 from 87 in November 2020.
- Finally, the cider segment remains well below 50 with a reading of 32 in November 2021 compared to 34 in November 2020.
The National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) represents America’s 3,000 independent beer distributors who service every state, congressional district and media market across the country. Licensed at the federal and state levels, beer distributors get bottles, cans, cases and kegs from a brewer or importer to stores, restaurants and other licensed retail accounts through a transparent and accountable regulatory system. Distributors build brands of all sizes – from familiar domestic beers to new startup labels and imports from around the world – and generate enormous consumer choice while supporting more than 140,000 quality jobs in their home communities. Beer distributors work locally to keep communities safe by sponsoring programs to promote responsible consumption, combat drunk driving and reduce underage drinking.