The National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) released the Beer Purchasers’ Index for April 2018. 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.
Overall, the Beer Purchasers’ Index fell to 54 this April, four points below last year’s April index. This reading indicates a small expansion in beer orders, though slightly lower than orders placed over the same period in 2017.
Looking across the segments:
- The index for imports is one point higher than this time last year at 69 compared to 68 in April 2017.
- The craft index moved back to expansion territory posting an index of 52. This is a significant gain over last month’s craft index of 45, the lowest reading of any segment in a single month since the index launched in 2014.
- The flavored malt beverage/progressive adult beverage (FMB/PAB) segment saw the largest jump of all the segments with an increase of nine points to 60 from 51 the prior year.
- Cider continues to show signs of recovery in 2018 with an index of 40 and posting consecutive growth each month this year.
- Premium lights and regular premiums both posted relatively lower readings.
- Finally, the below premium index saw a substantial seven-point increase over the prior period setting a three-month trend of improving readings.
“While beer overall is slightly down from this time last year, it is still showing some expansion,” NBWA Chief Economist Lester Jones said. “The real standout is the jump in flavored malt and progressive adult beverages which are up nine points over this time last year. The rebound of craft beer in April is also a bright spot after its record-low reading in March.”