The National Beer Wholesalers Association‘s (NBWA) Beer Purchasers’ Index (BPI) for December 2018 hit 47 for total beer, which continues a four-month trend of below 50 readings, indicating continued sluggishness in beer orders heading into 2019. The December 2017 index was 55.
The index is slightly below the critical 50 mark and indicates slight contractions in total beer orders placed with suppliers. The prevailing trend over the past few years of consumers trading up to higher-end segments shows no sign of letting up as we move into 2019.
Looking across the segments…
The index for imports continues to indicate expanding volumes with a December index at 61 compared to 69 in December 2017.
The craft index at 57 is only slightly below last year’s reading of 59, and the December index indicates an expansion in the volume in craft beer orders.
Premium lights, premium regulars and below premiums all posted lower readings or comparable readings compared to the same month last year. These segments continue to lack any significant signs of recovery.
The flavored malt beverage/progressive adult beverage (FAB/PAB) segment continues to show expansion with a 57 index reading. The December 2018 reading is higher than December 2017 index reading of 51.
The cider segment also continues to expand with December 2018 posting a 53 index up from a 27 index in December 2017. This is the segment’s third monthly reading above 50 for 2018.
The “At Risk” inventory measures for total beer jumped to 52 from 47 for December 2018. This marks the third time in six months that distributors reported more inventory at risk of going out of code in the next 30 days.
The January 2019 BPI survey runs from January 7 through January 18. Results will be released to participating distributors on January 21.