The National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) recently released the Beer Purchasers’ Index (BPI) for December 2021. This December’s total index reading of 71 is the highest ever recorded for a December survey. Continued supply chain challenges combined with planned/expected price increases in 2022 are driving higher index readings as distributors and retailers seek to build their inventories heading into the new year.
The components that make up the aggregate BPI continue to show significant changes. Most importantly, the drop in the FMB/seltzer BPI reading continues, falling to 36 from 80 in December 2020. This is a reflection of the FMB/seltzer downward trend we have seen with the survey since September 2021. Meanwhile, imports, crafts and premium lights all report solid expansionary index readings this December. 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 “at-risk” index readings over time as supply-side challenges resolve over time and inventories continue to build.
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 December:
- The index for imports continued into expansion territory with a reading of 73 in December 2021, significantly higher than the December 2020 reading of 61.
- The craft index finally rose above 50, following several months of decline, with a reading of 60 compared to the December 2020 index reading of 44.
- The premium lights index posted another solid reading of 65, indicating continued expansion above the December 2020 index reading of 60.
- The regular domestic beer segment index is at 51 which is similar to the December 2020 reading of 50.
- The below premium segment at 38, took another hit year-over-year from the December 2020 reading of 42.
- The FMB/seltzer reading took another big hit, falling 44 points to 36 in December 2021 from the December 2020 reading of 80.
- Finally, the cider segment remains well below 50 with a reading of 45 in December 2021 compared to the December 2020 reading of 39.
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.
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