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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 market, its consumers and the major players who make up that market.

Market

Point of sale market data

In conjunction with IRi, extensive point of sale data shows you what consumers are spending their money on

Market Size

How big is the market today and what is our 5 year forecast? Includes both best & worst case scenarios

Market Segmentation

What are the different segments within the market and how are those individual segments performing?

Consumer

Consumer behaviors

What are consumers looking for, what drives their buying habits and what are their main purchase influencers?

Demographic breakdown

From iGen & Millennials to Baby Boomers & beyond. Who is spending money and what are they spending it on?

Representative sample

We gather our data from real-world consumers, selected to accurately reflect precise global demographics

Players

Company strategy

What are the key players doing, what has been successful for them and what was their marketing spend?

Product innovation

Using data from our Global New Product Database, what products were launched and how well were they perceived?

Opportunities

What happens next, which areas are likely to experience growth and what opportunities exist within the market?

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.

Beer has avoided dollar declines, despite volume decreases, due to the buffer of pricier craft, imported, and premium offerings. Category shifts may be stunting prices. Import activity favors affordable Mexican beer, and craft acquisitions by larger companies, with production/distribution efficiencies, may lower costs. While beer remains the most popular alcoholic beverage, more beer drinkers reduced consumption in 2017 than increased. Beth Bloom
Associate Director - Food & Drink

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry and how fast are its rates of growth? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

This report discusses the following key topics:

Definition

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

Sales of flavored malt beverages (eg Bud Light’s Lime-A-Rita‎ or Mike’s Hard Lemonade) are sometimes, but not always, included in data tables due to data constraints. That said, these beverages are generally not discussed in this report. For a full discussion and analyses, please refer to Mintel’s RTD Alcoholic Beverages—US, December 2017.

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
      • Executive Summary

        • The issues
          • Dollar sales of beer slow
            • Figure 1: Total US sales and fan chart forecast of beer, at current prices, 2012-22
          • A quarter of beer drinkers are drinking less than they were last year
            • Figure 2: Change in beer consumption, August 2017
          • Leading light beer segment experiences sharp declines, craft slows
            • Figure 3: Total US volume sales of beer, by segment, 2012-20 (fore)
          • The opportunities
            • Flavored launches grow
              • Figure 4: Beer launches, by leading flavors, 2012-17*
            • Company size does not play a huge role in perception of quality
              • Figure 5: Beer statements – Ownership, August 2017
            • A quarter of beer drinkers take pride in trying different kinds of beer
              • Figure 6: Beer statements – Identification, August 2017
            • What it means
            • The Market – What You Need to Know

              • Beer sales slow
                • Light beer continues to lead volume sales, but sees declines
                  • Craft continues to grow, but at a slower pace
                    • Beer continues to lead alcohol consumption
                      • Category struggles with poor perception of taste
                      • Market Size and Forecast

                        • Dollar sales of beer slow
                          • Figure 7: Total US sales and fan chart forecast of beer, at current prices, 2012-22
                          • Figure 8: Total US sales and forecast of beer, at current prices, 2012-22
                          • Figure 9: Total US sales and forecast of beer, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2012-22
                          • Figure 10: Total US volume sales and forecast of beer, 2012-22
                          • Figure 11: Total US volume sales and forecast of beer, 2012-22
                      • Market Breakdown

                        • Light beer continues to lead volume sales of beer, but sees declines
                          • Volume sales of imported beer grow by a third from 2012-17
                            • Super-premium/premium segment sees declines
                              • Craft continues to grow, but at a slower pace
                                • Volume sales in the popular beer segment decline by 16% from 2012-17
                                  • Figure 12: Share of volume sales of beer, by segment, 2017 (est)
                                  • Figure 13: Total US volume sales of beer, by segment, 2012-20 (fore)
                                • Success of hard cider sours
                                  • Figure 14: US volume sales of hard cider, 2012-16
                              • Market Perspective

                                • Volume sales of alcohol outpace sales of beer
                                  • Figure 15: Total US volume sales of beverage alcohol 2012-16
                                  • Figure 16: Total US volume sales of beverage alcohol 2012-16
                                • Vast majority of alcohol consumption is off-premise
                                    • Figure 17: US volume sales of beverage alcohol, by channel, 2012-16
                                    • Figure 18: US volume sales of beverage alcohol, by channel, 2012-16
                                    • Figure 19: US volume sales of beer and FMBs, by channel, 2012 and 2016
                                    • Figure 20: US volume sales of beer and FMBs, by channel, 2012-16
                                  • Beer continues to lead alcohol consumption
                                    • Figure 21: Alcohol consumption, August 2017
                                  • The majority of drinkers drink 2-5 drink types
                                    • Figure 22: Repertoire of alcohol consumption – Any drink, August 2017
                                  • 45% of respondents who only drink one type of alcohol drink beer
                                    • Figure 23: Repertoire of alcohol consumption – Any drink, by 1 type consumed, August 2017
                                  • Beer still leads as the easy option
                                    • Figure 24: Correspondence analysis – Perceptions of alcoholic drink types, August 2017
                                    • Figure 25: Perceptions of alcoholic drink types, August 2017
                                  • Beer has a strong association with refreshment…
                                    • Figure 26: Attitudes toward beer, March 2017
                                  • …but struggles with poor perception of taste
                                    • Craft beer performs slightly better in terms of flavor
                                      • Figure 27: Attitudes toward craft beer, March 2017
                                  • Market Factors

                                    • As acquisitions continue, the craft industry doubles down on the divide
                                      • 42% of US adults are currently trying to lose weight
                                      • Key Players – What You Need to Know

                                        • A-B InBev commands largest share of MULO sales
                                          • Constellation sees strong gains at MULO
                                            • Flavored launches grow
                                              • Cans gain ground on bottles
                                              • Company and Brand Sales of Beer

                                                • A-B InBev commands largest share of MULO sales
                                                  • Sales of beer by company
                                                    • Figure 28: Share of beer sales, by company, 52 weeks ending Jul 9, 2017
                                                    • Figure 29: MULO sales of beer and craft beer, by leading companies, rolling 52 weeks 2016 and 2017
                                                • What’s Working?

                                                  • Imported beer sees strong growth
                                                      • Figure 30: MULO sales of domestic and imported beer/ale, by leading companies and brands, rolling 52 weeks 2016 and 2017
                                                    • Flavored launches grow
                                                      • Figure 31: Beer launches, by leading flavors, 2012-17*
                                                      • Figure 32: Cider launches, by leading flavors, 2012-17*
                                                    • Cans continue to see strong growth
                                                      • Figure 33: Beer launches, by pack type, 2012-17*
                                                    • In their words
                                                    • What’s Struggling?

                                                      • MULO sales of cider decline by 7%
                                                        • Figure 34: MULO sales of alcoholic cider, by leading companies and brands, rolling 52 weeks 2016 and 2017
                                                      • Lager menuings lose share to IPAs and bold flavor beers
                                                          • Figure 35: Leading beer styles featured on restaurant menus, Q2 2016-Q2 2017
                                                      • What’s Next?

                                                        • IPAs have opened the door for a wider focus on hops
                                                          • Unfiltered/unpasteurized beer could convey natural cues
                                                            • Sours hit a sweet spot
                                                              • Encouraging the use of beer in cocktails
                                                              • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                • 61% of beer drinkers are men
                                                                  • A quarter of beer drinkers are drinking less than they were last year
                                                                    • Half of beer drinkers drink craft offerings
                                                                      • Brand is the leading factor in beer choice
                                                                        • Company size does not play a huge role in perception of quality
                                                                        • Who’s Drinking Beer?

                                                                          • 61% of beer drinkers are men
                                                                            • Figure 36: Share of alcohol consumption, by gender, August 2017
                                                                          • 50% of beer drinkers are between the ages of 22-44
                                                                            • Figure 37: Share of alcohol consumption, by age, August 2017
                                                                          • A strong perception of affordability allows beer to appeal to lower earning HHs
                                                                            • Figure 38: Share of alcohol consumption, by HH income, August 2017
                                                                        • Change in Beer Consumption

                                                                          • A quarter of beer drinkers are drinking less than they were last year
                                                                            • Figure 39: Change in beer consumption, August 2017
                                                                          • Highest percentage of consumers looking to reduce calories
                                                                            • Figure 40: Reasons for drinking less beer, August 2017
                                                                          • Craft and flavored options help grow beer consumption
                                                                            • Figure 41: Reasons for drinking more beer, August 2017
                                                                        • Types of Beer Consumed

                                                                          • Domestic v. import
                                                                            • A slightly higher percentage of consumers drink domestic beer
                                                                              • Figure 42: Types of beer consumed – Domestic v. imported, August 2017
                                                                            • Hispanics are more likely than non-Hispanics to drink imports
                                                                              • Figure 43: Types of beer consumed – Domestic v. imported, by Hispanic origin, August 2017
                                                                            • Craft
                                                                              • Half of beer drinkers drink craft beer
                                                                                • Figure 44: Types of beer consumed – Craft, August 2017
                                                                              • Three quarters of “true craft” drinkers also drink “craft-style” beer
                                                                                • Figure 45: Types of beer consumed – Craft, by types of beer consumed, August 2017
                                                                              • Younger drinkers open to craft-style options
                                                                                • Figure 46: Types of beer consumed – Craft, by age, August 2017
                                                                              • Other attributes
                                                                                • Less than a third of beer drinkers are drinking light beer
                                                                                  • Figure 47: Types of beer consumed – Other attributes, August 2017
                                                                                • Women are strong targets for flavored beer
                                                                                  • Figure 48: Types of beer consumed – Other attributes, by gender, August 2017
                                                                                • Flavored options find strong appeal among younger drinkers
                                                                                  • Figure 49: Types of beer consumed – Other attributes, by age, August 2017
                                                                              • Important Factors When Choosing a Beer

                                                                                • Brand is the leading factor in beer choice
                                                                                  • Figure 50: Important factors when choosing a beer, August 2017
                                                                                • Three quarters of “true craft” drinkers are driven by style
                                                                                  • Figure 51: Important factors when choosing a beer, by craft consumption, August 2017
                                                                                • Younger consumers are driven by low price, open to suggestions
                                                                                  • Figure 52: Share of beer purchase, by age, Spring 2017
                                                                                  • Figure 53: Important factors when choosing a beer, by age, August 2017
                                                                                • Lower income earners are strongly driven by price
                                                                                  • Figure 54: Share of beer purchase, by HH income, Spring 2017
                                                                                  • Figure 55: Important factors when choosing a beer, by HH income, August 2017
                                                                              • Beer Statements

                                                                                • Company size does not play a huge role in perception of quality
                                                                                  • Figure 56: Beer statements – Ownership, August 2017
                                                                                • In their words
                                                                                  • Brand plays a slightly larger role in identification than style
                                                                                    • Beer drinkers exhibit some brand loyalty
                                                                                      • Figure 57: Beer consumption, by beer consumption, Spring 2017
                                                                                      • Figure 58: Beer statements – Identification, August 2017
                                                                                    • “True craft” drinkers have high opinions of small brand, but don’t begrudge large companies
                                                                                      • Figure 59: Beer statements – Ownership, August 2017
                                                                                    • Product trial resonates with craft drinkers; style also finds appeal
                                                                                      • Figure 60: Beer statements – Identification, by craft beer consumption, August 2017
                                                                                    • 35% of 25-34s take pride in product trial
                                                                                        • Figure 61: Beer statements – Identification, by age, August 2017
                                                                                    • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

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

                                                                                                        • Figure 62: Total US volume sales of light beer, 2012-22
                                                                                                        • Figure 63: Total US volume sales of super-premium and premium beer, 2012-22
                                                                                                        • Figure 64: Total US volume sales of imported beer, 2012-22
                                                                                                        • Figure 65: Total US volume sales of craft beer, 2012-22
                                                                                                        • Figure 66: Total US volume sales of popular beer, 2012-22
                                                                                                        • Figure 67: Total US volume sales of ice beer, 2012-22
                                                                                                        • Figure 68: Total US volume sales of malt liquor, 2012-22
                                                                                                        • Figure 69: US volume sales of domestic beer, by form, 2012-16
                                                                                                    • Appendix – Key Players

                                                                                                        • Figure 70: Sales of beer, by company, 2016 and 2017
                                                                                                        • Figure 71: US volume sales of hard cider, 2012-16
                                                                                                        • Figure 72: Leading beer styles featured on restaurant menus, Q2 2016-Q2 2017
                                                                                                        • Figure 73: Beer launches, by leading claims, 2012-17*
                                                                                                        • Figure 74: Cider launches, by leading claims, 2012-17*
                                                                                                        • Figure 75: Beer launches, by leading flavors, 2012-17*
                                                                                                        • Figure 76: Cider launches, by leading flavors, 2012-17*
                                                                                                        • Figure 77: Beer launches, by pack type, 2012-17*
                                                                                                        • Figure 78: Cider launches, by pack type, 2012-17*
                                                                                                    • Appendix – The Consumer

                                                                                                        • Figure 79: Regular domestic beer consumption (not light/low-calorie), 2013-17
                                                                                                        • Figure 80: Brands of regular domestic beer (not light/low-calorie) consumed, 2013-17
                                                                                                        • Figure 81: Imported beer consumption, 2013-17
                                                                                                        • Figure 82: Types of imported beer consumed, 2013-17
                                                                                                        • Figure 83: Brands of imported beer consumed, 2013-17
                                                                                                        • Figure 84: Craft/microbrewed beer consumption, 2013-17
                                                                                                        • Figure 85: Brands of craft/microbrewed beer consumed, 2013-17
                                                                                                        • Figure 86: Malt liquor consumption, 2013-17
                                                                                                        • Figure 87: Brands of hard cider/craft cider consumed, 2016-17