Did the effect of Dry January show up in the National Beer Wholesalers Association’s (NBWA) Beer Purchasers’ Index (BPI) for January 2022? Well, the total beer index reading of 46 takes the beer industry back to pre-pandemic results with a below 50 reading for the first time since April 2020. Combined with an “at-risk” inventory reading at 58, both readings are reminiscent of when the industry was frequently troubled by excess inventory and relatively lower ordering.
NBWA’s Beer Purchasers’ Index 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.
The components that make up the aggregate BPI this January are also more like pre-pandemic readings. Most importantly, the dramatic drop in the FMB/seltzer BPI continues, falling to 39 in January 2022 from 90 in January 2021. Meanwhile, crafts, premium lights, regular premium and below premium segments all fell below 50 for the month. The import segment is the only segment to report a solid expansionary index this January.
The “at-risk” inventory measures rose above 50 for the first time since April of 2020. This reading signals supply constraints in the beer industry are beginning to alleviate. It is important to take note of the upward trend in “at-risk” inventories as supply-side challenges start to resolve and inventories continue to build.
The NBWA believes that “industry numbers will continue to behave erratically over the next few months as shipments, depletions and sales to consumer measures remain out of sync.”
Looking across the segments for January:
- The index for imports continued into expansion territory with a reading of 71 in January 2022, significantly higher than the January 2021 reading of 59.
- The craft index fell to 40 compared to the January 2021 index reading of 43.
- The premium lights index posted a reading of 46, falling below 50 for the first time since March 2021.
- The premium regular segment index is at 30, is back below 50 and below the January 2021 reading of 48.
- The below premium segment at 38, took another hit year-over-year from the January 2021 reading of 45.
- The FMB/seltzer took another big hit, falling 51 points to 39 in January 2022 from the January 2021 reading of 90.
- Finally, the cider segment remains well below 50 with a reading of 28 in January 2022 compared to the January 2021 reading of 35.