The National Beer Wholesalers Association’s (NBWA) Beer Purchasers’ Index (BPI) for May 2021 shows a stark comparison to the May 2020 BPI, which demonstrated the severe impact of COVID-19 on the beer industry. The May 2021 overall reading of 80 is significantly higher than last May’s reading of 64.
The “at-risk” inventory (inventory at risk of going out of code in the next 30 days) measure of 31 continues to remain well below the long-running average as out-of-stocks and supply disruptions continue to impact the industry.
“This month’s survey cycles the May 2020 survey, a month that saw dramatic shifts in consumer behavior as the on-premise beer business was at a virtual standstill and off-premise business was booming. This index is the strongest reading over the past five surveys going back to 2015,” stated NBWA Chief Economist Lester Jones.
The 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 May:
- The index for imports continued into expansion territory with a reading of 68 for May 2021. This is well above the 53 reading from May 2020.
- The craft index posted a strong reading of 65 for May 2021, compared to a reading of 42 in May 2020.
- The premium lights segment posted a reading of 64 and is slightly below the index of 69 from May 2020.
- Regular domestic beer segment’s index of 48 is below the May 2020 reading of 60.
- The below premium segment reading at 36, has seen a significant drop from its all-time high reading of 71 back in May 2020.
- The FMB/seltzer segment continued to outperform all other segments in May 2021 with a reading of 82, a few points below May 2020 reading of 90.
- The cider segment remains below 50, posting an index reading of 46 compared to last May’s reading of 31.