Craft beer demand on shelves and taps might be on the upswing, according to the Beer Purchasers’ Index (BPI) for August 2023. This comes after nearly a year of distressing data points.
The BPI is published by the National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA). It 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.
The August BPI data show an opposite outcome to July 2023 with the BPI falling below the (50) benchmark to 45 while the At-Risk Inventory (ARI) measure rose to 52. Notable results include another strong month for imports ordering — 10 points higher YoY— and a 14-point YoY swing for craft, indicating the segment may have bottomed out and should see higher levels of ordering in the future.
Looking across the segments for August:
The index for imports continues to point to expanding volumes with an August 2023 reading of 73, a full 10 points higher than the August 2022 reading of 63.
The craft index at 42 continues to signal contraction but is 14 points above the August 2022 reading of 28.
The premium light index posted another expansionary index reading of 58, a 20-point jump above the August 2022 reading of 38.
The premium regular segment index at 48 is also significantly above the August 2022 reading of 33.
The big downward shift in the below premium segment noted in July 2023 appears to be an anomaly, as the August reading rebounded to an expansionary reading of 52 — a full 10 points above the August 2022 reading of 42.
The FMB/seltzer reading of 33 in August is only slightly higher than the August 2022 reading of 31, suggesting the segment, similar to craft, has bottomed out and may see higher levels of ordering in the future.
Finally, the cider segment posted an August reading at 33 compared to 26 in August 2022.