Beer is off to a solid start in 2020, according to the National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) Beer Purchasers’ Index (BPI), but craft is doing just OK. 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 BPI for February 2020 showed total beer rose to 64 from the 61 recorded in February 2019. Repeating January’s performance, this month is also the highest February reading ever posted during the six years of the survey.
The “at-risk inventory” index for total beer dropped to 44 and has remained below the 50 mark for the past nine months. Together these results indicate a strong start to 2020 for U.S. beer distributors with high-end and innovation leading the way.
Looking across the segments:
- The rush to bring new seltzer brands to market pushed the FMB/seltzer segment to another high mark of 95 for February 2020 relative to 71 in February 2019.
- The craft index continues to bounce around the 50 mark, recording a reading of 51 for February 2020, only a few points below the February 2019 reading of 55. However, this reading was significantly higher than the January 2019 reading of 45.
- The index for imports at 52 is a full 10 points below last February’s index of 62 but remains in expansion territory for the year.
- Premium lights, premium regulars and below premiums all posted decreases over last year’s readings. All three domestic segments continue to struggle with below 50 index readings.
- The cider segment took another hit in February 2020, falling to 34 from 52 as compared to the same time last year.
The March 2020 BPI survey will run from March 9th through March 23th. Results will be released to participating distributors on March 24th.