What were distributors buying last month? Well, let’s look. The February 2018 Beer Purchasers’ Index for total beer sits at 49, indicating a slight contraction in orders placed by beer distributors. The index for BPI for imports hit 70 for a six-month high mark. The BPI craft index dipped to 56, with four out of the past six months below 60.
The survey asks purchasers at beer distributorships if they ordered more beer, about the same, or less beer from their suppliers in the current month. The results are reported as a composite diffusion index where a reading greater than 50 indicates the segment is expanding, and a reading below 50 indicates the segment is contracting.
National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) Chief Economist Lester Jones said, “This is still an indication of expansion in the volume of craft beer purchased, it’s just slower than in previous years. Premium Lights and regular premium both posted relatively lower readings, compared to February 2017. The below premium index remains in the mid-30s range, which is slightly lower relative to previous months’ readings.”
The flavored malt beverage (FMB) segment indexed at the 50 mark. The cider segment posted a 32-index, continuing a steady increase in readings over the past seven months. Finally, the “at risk” inventory measure posted a 52.6 index for February 2018, breaking a four-month trend of below 50 readings.