The National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) released the April 2021 Beer Purchasers’ Index (BPI) — the only forward-looking indicator for distributors to measure expected beer demand — which shows a stark comparison to the April 2020 BPI. That report was the first report to reveal the severe impact of COVID-19 on the beer industry. The April 2021 reading of 79 remains significantly above April 2020’s all-time low reading of 34.
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 “at-risk” inventory 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 April 2020 survey, the month when widespread quarantines brought the on-premise beer business to a standstill,” stated NBWA Chief Economist Lester Jones. “The April 2021 reading shows significant recovery from last year, but relative to April readings going back to 2015, the current index appears to fall in line with the industry’s long-running measures.”
Looking across the segments for April:
- The index for imports continued into expansion territory for a reading of 74 in April 2021, well above the 32 reading from April 2020.
- The craft index posted a reading of 64 for April 2021, compared to a dismal reading of 14 in April 2020.
- The premium lights segment posted a reading of 69 following a reading of 44 from April 2020.
- Regular domestic beer segment’s index of 56 is also significantly above April 2020’s reading of 40.
- The below premium segment reading is at 51, only a few points higher than the April 2020 reading of 47.
- The FMB/seltzer segment continued to outperform all other segments in April 2021 with a reading of 90, compared to 72 from April 2020.
- The cider segment remains below 50, posting an index reading of 44 compared to last April’s reading of 17.