Last week, the National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) released the Beer Purchasers’ Index (BPI) for November 2019. 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 total beer index retreated to 47 from the big October 2019 reading of 70. The November index also fell compared to the November 2018 reading of 48. The total beer index sits in-line with the November readings over the past three years. However, the “At-Risk Inventory” index for total beer index dropped to 47 and continues to remain below the 50-mark in the fourth quarter.
Looking across the segments:
- The flavored malt beverage/progressive adult beverage (FMB/PAB) segment retreated from prior month high marks in 2019. For November, the index was still relatively high at 69, but only a few points higher relative to the November 2018 reading of 63.
- The craft index reading of 53 for November 2019 came in lower than the November 2018 reading of 57. The craft segment has bounced around the critical 50 mark for most of 2019 and remains in expansion territory for beer purchasers.
- The index for imports also took another big step back from 2018 highs but remains in expansion territory with a November index reading of 53 compared to the November 2018 reading of 69.
- Premium lights posted another slight increase over last year’s readings. The November 2019 reading of 37 was slightly higher compared to 31 in 2018. Premium regulars also ticked up slightly to 29, four points higher than this time last year. Below premiums also saw an increase from 34 in 2018 to 40 in 2019. All three domestic segments continue to struggle with below 50 index readings.
- The cider segment continues to show the most variability of any segment in the BPI, falling to 32 from 58. Cider orders continue to contract from peak readings in late 2018. This series will continue to play out as regional cider brands compete aggressively against larger national cider brands.
The December 2019 BPI survey will run from December 9 through 19. Results will be released to participating distributors on December 20.