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US Beer and Craft Beer market report

Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Beer and Craft Beer market, and the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

Covered in this report

This report includes volume and value sales data for domestic and imported beer for home (off-premise) and on-premise consumption.

The report covers the following beer segments, as defined by the Beverage Information and Insights Group:

  • Light beer (such as Bud Light and Coors Light; includes lowcalorie brands such as Miller 64 and Bud Select 55)
  • Super-premium and premium beer (such as Budweiser and Yuengling; as well as “mass-craft” brands like Blue Moon and Shock Top)
  • Imported beer (including imported light beer brands)
  • Craft beer (such as Boston Beer Co., and Sierra Nevada, which are also referred to as “true craft” in this Report)
  • Popular beer (such as Busch and Miller High Life)
  • Ice beer (such as Natural Ice or Icehouse)
  • Malt liquor

The report also includes a look at hard cider, though not as extensive a look as beer.

What you need to know

Dollar sales of beer, craft beer, and cider are estimated to reach $112 billion in 2018, up 1.1% over 2017 totals. Dollar sales of beer will level, with very small year-over-year gains projected through 2023. Volume sales are declining at a higher rate (with an estimated dip of just under 1% in 2018), due to a higher percentage of consumers reducing beer consumption than report drinking more.

Leading reasons for reduction include personal health improvement and drinking less alcohol in general. Larger dollar declines are prevented by the growth in higher price point segments, including craft and imported beer.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Beth Bloom, a leading analyst in the Food & Drink sector, her extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

Dollar sales of beer, craft beer, and cider are estimated to reach $112 billion in 2018, up 1.1% over 2017 totals. Dollar sales of beer will level, with very small year-over-year gains projected through 2023. Volume sales are declining at a higher rate (with an estimated dip of just under 1% in 2018), due to a higher percentage of consumers reducing beer consumption than report drinking more. Leading reasons for reduction include personal health improvement and drinking less alcohol in general. Larger dollar declines are prevented by the growth in higher price point segments, including craft and imported beer. Beth Bloom
Associate Director - Food & Drink

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
      • Executive Summary

        • The issues
          • Dollar sales growth of beer, craft beer, and alcoholic cider slows
            • Figure 1: Total US sales and forecast of beer, craft beer, and alcoholic cider, at current prices, 2013-23
          • A quarter of beer drinkers have reduced consumption
            • Figure 2: Reasons for drinking less beer, August 2018
          • Expanding legalization of recreational cannabis can challenge beer
            • Figure 3: Cannabis statements – Alcohol, June 2018
          • The opportunities
            • Beer drinkers are open to exploration within the category
              • Figure 4: Beer statements – Habits, August 2018
            • Engage through increased consumption
              • Figure 5: Reasons for drinking more beer, August 2018
            • Restaurants and breweries are key trial locations for “true-craft” drinkers
              • Figure 6: Beer purchase location, by craft consumption, August 2018
            • What it means
            • The Market – What You Need to Know

              • Dollar sales growth of beer, craft beer, and alcoholic cider slows
                • Struggles of dominant light beer, overshadow imported and craft growth
                  • Beer leads alcohol choice, but loses sales share to other categories
                    • On-premise volume sales decline 4.5% from 2013-17
                      • Expanding legalization of recreational cannabis can challenge beer
                      • Market Size and Forecast

                        • Dollar sales growth of beer, craft beer, and alcoholic cider slows
                          • Figure 7: Total US sales and forecast of beer, craft beer, and alcoholic cider, at current prices, 2013-23
                          • Figure 8: Total US sales and forecast of beer, craft beer, and alcoholic cider, at current prices, 2013-23
                          • Figure 9: Total US sales and forecast of beer, craft beer, and alcoholic cider, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2013-23
                        • Volume sales decline slows
                          • Figure 10: Total US volume sales and forecast of beer and craft beer, 2013-21
                          • Figure 11: Total US volume sales and forecast of beer and craft beer, 2013-21
                      • Market Breakdown

                        • Imported and craft segments continue strong growth
                          • Figure 12: Total US volume sales and forecast of beer and craft beer, by segment, 2015-21
                          • Figure 13: Share of total US volume sales and forecast of beer and craft beer, by segment, 2016-18
                        • On-premise volume sales decline 4.5% from 2013-17
                          • Figure 14: US volume sales of beer, craft beer, and FMBs, by channel, 2013-17
                        • Cider sees overall upward trend, despite recent slowdown
                          • Figure 15: Total US volume sales of alcoholic cider, 2013-17
                      • Market Perspective

                        • Consumers diversifying routine, reaching for wine and spirits
                          • Figure 16: Alcohol consumption, August 2018
                          • Figure 17: Year-over-year change of US beer volume sales as compared to US volume sales of beverage alcohol, 2014-17
                          • Figure 18: Top Ingredients for "Beer" & "FAB – Seltzer," January 2017-October 2018
                        • Expanding legalization of recreational cannabis can challenge beer
                          • Figure 19: Cannabis statements – Alcohol, June 2018
                      • Market Factors

                        • Positive economic outlook favors increased discretionary spending
                          • Figure 20: Consumer sentiment index, January 2007-August 2018
                        • Aging population will challenge alcohol sales
                          • Figure 21: Population by age, 2013-23
                      • Key Players – What You Need to Know

                        • A-B InBev continues to lead MULO sales in the category
                          • Cans surpass bottles among 2018 launches
                            • Light Lagers continue to lead, but lose share to IPAs
                              • Lower alcohol options can appeal to consumers’ desire for moderation
                              • Company and Brand Sales of Beer and Craft Beer

                                • A-B InBev continues to lead MULO sales in the category
                                  • Sales of beer and craft beer by company
                                    • Figure 22: Share of multi-outlet sales of beer, craft beer, and alcoholic ciders, by leading companies, 52-weeks ending Aug. 12, 2018
                                    • Figure 23: Multi-outlet sales of beer, craft beer, and alcoholic ciders, by leading companies, rolling 52 weeks 2017 and 2018
                                • What’s Working?

                                  • Constellation sees strong growth at MULO
                                      • Figure 24: Multi-outlet sales of imported beer/ale, by leading companies and brands, rolling 52 weeks 2017 and 2018
                                    • Cider seeing strong growth at MULO
                                      • Figure 25: Multi-outlet sales of alcoholic ciders, by leading companies and brands, rolling 52 weeks 2017 and 2018
                                      • Figure 26: Cider launches, by leading claims, 2014 and 2018*
                                      • Figure 27: Cider launches, by fastest growing claims, 2014-18*
                                    • Cans surpass bottles among 2018 launches
                                      • Figure 28: Beer launches, by pack type, 2014 and 2018*
                                      • Figure 29: Cider launches, by pack type, 2014 and 2018*
                                    • Environmentally friendly packaging claims skyrocket in among beer launches
                                      • Figure 30: Beer launches, by leading claims, 2014 and 2018*
                                      • Figure 31: Beer launches, by fastest growing claims, 2014-18*
                                    • Citrus flavors lead among flavored beer launches
                                      • Figure 32: Beer launches, by leading flavors, 2014 and 2018*
                                      • Figure 33: Beer launches, by fastest growing flavors, 2014-18*
                                      • Figure 34: Cider launches, by leading flavors, 2014 and 2018*
                                      • Figure 35: Cider launches, by fastest growing flavors, 2014-18*
                                    • Light Lagers continue to lead, but lose share to IPAs
                                      • Figure 36: Beer appearance on restaurant menus, by style share, Q3 2014 and Q3 2018
                                  • What’s Struggling?

                                    • Domestic beer stagnates at MULO
                                        • Figure 37: Multi-outlet sales of domestic beer/ale, by leading companies and brands, rolling 52 weeks 2017 and 2018
                                    • What’s Next?

                                      • Milkshake IPAs put the focus on mouthfeel
                                        • Botanical flavors extend food and drink ingredient trends to beer
                                          • Lower alcohol options can appeal to consumer desire for moderation
                                          • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                            • 60% of beer drinkers are men
                                              • A quarter of beer drinkers have reduced consumption in the past year
                                                • Craft-style outpacing true-craft consumption
                                                  • Bottles still lead despite uptick in cans
                                                    • Brand leads beer purchase decision
                                                      • Slightly more than half of beer drinkers explore the range
                                                      • Beer Consumption

                                                        • 60% of beer drinkers are men
                                                          • Figure 38: Share of alcohol consumption, by gender, August 2018
                                                        • Beer is not as popular among new drinkers
                                                          • Figure 39: Share of alcohol consumption, by age, August 2018
                                                        • Beer may benefit from affordability
                                                          • Figure 40: Share of alcohol consumption, by household income, August 2018
                                                        • Hispanics are more likely than average to drink beer
                                                          • Figure 41: Alcohol consumption, by Hispanic origin, August 2018
                                                        • Consumption frequency
                                                          • Three in 10 beer drinkers do so multiple times per week
                                                            • Figure 42: Beer statements – Frequency, August 2018
                                                          • Men are more likely to be frequent beer drinkers
                                                            • Figure 43: Beer statements – Frequency, by gender, August 2018
                                                          • Craft beer drinkers do so with greater frequency
                                                            • Figure 44: Beer statements – Frequency, by craft consumption, August 2018
                                                        • Types of Beer Consumed

                                                          • Bottles/cans
                                                            • Bottled options still outpace canned, despite introduction surge
                                                              • Figure 45: Types of beer consumed – Format, August 2018
                                                            • Younger drinkers embrace cans
                                                              • Figure 46: Types of beer consumed – Format, by age, August 2018
                                                            • Domestic/imported
                                                              • A higher percentage of beer drinkers drink domestic varieties
                                                                • Figure 47: Types of beer consumed – Domestic/imported, August 2018
                                                              • Hispanic interest in imports helps segment thrive
                                                                • Figure 48: Types of beer consumed – Domestic/imported, by Hispanic origin, August 2018
                                                              • Craft
                                                                • Craft-style surpasses true-craft consumption
                                                                  • Figure 49: Types of beer consumed – Craft, August 2018
                                                                • Craft continues to fall under radar of Hispanics
                                                                  • Figure 50: Types of beer consumed – Craft, by Hispanic, August 2018
                                                                • Light/flavored
                                                                  • Light/low-cal variety engagement low, can use refresh
                                                                    • Figure 51: Types of beer consumed – Other types, August 2018
                                                                  • Women are more likely to reach for a light option
                                                                    • Figure 52: Types of beer consumed – Other types, by gender, August 2018
                                                                  • Young drinkers have the fever for the flavor
                                                                    • Figure 53: Types of beer consumed – Other types, by age, August 2018
                                                                • Change in Beer Consumption

                                                                  • A quarter of beer drinkers have reduced consumption in the past year
                                                                    • Figure 54: Beer statements – Change in consumption, August 2018
                                                                  • 22-34s show most erratic consumption behavior
                                                                    • Figure 55: Beer statements – Change in consumption, by age, August 2018
                                                                  • “Craft-style” drinkers are more likely to have increased consumption in the past year
                                                                    • Figure 56: Beer statements – Change in consumption, by craft consumption, August 2018
                                                                  • Reasons for drinking less beer
                                                                    • Health improvement and alcohol reduction drive decreased consumption
                                                                      • Figure 57: Reasons for drinking less beer, August 2018
                                                                    • Women are especially interested in calorie-reduction
                                                                      • Figure 58: Reasons for drinking less beer, by gender, August 2018
                                                                    • Younger reducers are particularly health conscious
                                                                      • Figure 59: Reasons for drinking less beer, by age, August 2018
                                                                    • Reasons for drinking more beer
                                                                      • Category engagement leading to increased consumption
                                                                        • Figure 60: Reasons for drinking more beer, August 2018
                                                                    • Perceptions of Beer Types

                                                                      • Light beer seen as a healthier option
                                                                        • Figure 61: Correspondence analysis – Symmetrical map – Perception of beer types, August 2018
                                                                        • Figure 62: Alcohol consumption, August 2018
                                                                      • “Craft-style” beer finds appeal among both craft and non-crafter drinkers
                                                                        • Figure 63: Perception of beer types – “True craft” beer, by craft beer consumption, August 2018
                                                                        • Figure 64: Perception of beer types – “Craft-style” beer, by craft beer consumption, August 2018
                                                                    • Important Factors

                                                                      • Brand leads beer purchase decision
                                                                        • Figure 65: Important factors, August 2018
                                                                      • Younger drinkers are less likely to be driven by brand
                                                                        • Figure 66: Important factors, by age, August 2018
                                                                      • Frequent drinkers are even more reliant on brand
                                                                        • Figure 67: Important factors, by consumption frequency, August 2018
                                                                      • Style is of utmost importance among “true-craft” drinkers
                                                                        • Figure 68: Important factors, by craft consumption, August 2018
                                                                    • Beer Purchase Location

                                                                      • Supermarkets lead purchase location
                                                                        • Figure 69: Beer purchase location, August 2018
                                                                      • 35-44s are target market for online sales
                                                                        • Figure 70: Beer purchase location, by age, August 2018
                                                                      • Restaurants, breweries are key trial locations for “true-craft” drinkers
                                                                        • Figure 71: Beer purchase location, by craft consumption, August 2018
                                                                    • Beer Attitudes and Behaviors

                                                                      • Brand/style loyalty behaviors
                                                                        • Beer drinkers aren’t strongly stuck in their ways
                                                                          • Figure 72: Beer statements – Habits, August 2018
                                                                        • Craft drinkers aren’t necessarily about the brand
                                                                          • Figure 73: Beer statements – Habits, by craft consumption, August 2018
                                                                        • Attitudes about beer
                                                                          • Large manufacturers struggle with craft appeal
                                                                            • Figure 74: Goose Island - Think Big About Beer, April 2018
                                                                            • Figure 75: Beer statements – Other, August 2018
                                                                          • 22-34s are most likely to benefit from helping hand from beer brands
                                                                            • Figure 76: Beer statements – Other, by age, August 2018
                                                                          • Craft drinkers have higher-than-average opinions of large manufacturers
                                                                            • Figure 77: Beer statements – Other, by craft consumption, August 2018
                                                                        • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                          • Data sources
                                                                            • Sales data
                                                                              • Fan chart forecast
                                                                                • Consumer survey data
                                                                                  • Correspondence analysis methodology
                                                                                    • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                                      • Abbreviations
                                                                                      • Appendix – The Market

                                                                                          • Figure 78: Total US volume sales and forecast of light beer, 2013-21
                                                                                          • Figure 79: Total US volume sales and forecast of super-premium and premium beer, 2013-21
                                                                                          • Figure 80: Total US volume sales and forecast of imported beer, 2013-21
                                                                                          • Figure 81: Total US volume sales and forecast of craft beer, 2013-21
                                                                                          • Figure 82: Total US volume sales and forecast of popular beer, 2013-21
                                                                                          • Figure 83: Total US volume sales and forecast of ice beer, 2013-21
                                                                                          • Figure 84: Total US volume sales and forecast of malt liquor, 2013-21
                                                                                          • Figure 85: US volume sales of beer and craft beer, by segment, 2016 and 2018
                                                                                          • Figure 86: Total US volume sales of alcoholic cider, 2013-17
                                                                                          • Figure 87: US volume sales of beer, craft beer, and FMBs, by channel, 2013-17
                                                                                          • Figure 88: US volume sales of beverage alcohol, by channel, 2013-17
                                                                                      • Appendix – Key Players

                                                                                          • Figure 89: Multi-outlet sales of beer, craft beer, and alcoholic ciders, by leading companies, rolling 52 weeks 2017 and 2018
                                                                                          • Figure 90: Beer launches, by pack type, 2014 and 2018*
                                                                                          • Figure 91: Cider launches, by pack type, 2014 and 2018*
                                                                                          • Figure 92: Beer launches, by leading claims, 2014 and 2018*
                                                                                          • Figure 93: Cider launches, by leading claims, 2014 and 2018*
                                                                                          • Figure 94: Beer launches, by leading flavors, 2014 and 2018*
                                                                                          • Figure 95: Cider launches, by leading flavors, 2014 and 2018*
                                                                                          • Figure 96: Beer appearance on restaurant menus, by style, Q3 2014- Q3 2018