Not the way anyone wanted to close out 2016 off-premise. But volume dipped 3.1%, $$ sales -2.2% in IRI multi-outlet + convenience for 4 wks thru Christmas Day. That made Q4 volume basically flat, $$ up just 1.5%. Volume softened pretty much across the board (key segments, top players, brands, etc) in closing mo. But one trend really intensified in Dec: softer pricing. In Q4, avg price for beer in MULC up 32 cents/case, 1.4%, already well below 52-wk avg price increase of 50 cents/case 2.2%. In Dec, avg price up just 21 cents/case less than 1%. Subpremiums led downward pressure, with avg prices off about nickel/case for 4 and 12 wks. But FMB pricing off about a dime/case in Dec too and premiums up less than a dime/case, just 0.4%. Yet it sure doesnâ€™t look like softer pricing drove any kind of overall volume pop. Subpremiums -1.1% for 12 wks, slightly better than -1.6% trend for full yr. Even craft prices, up about a buck/case for the yr, rose just 41 cents/case in Dec.
Key trends in Q4. Import and superpremium volume stayed pretty strong: each up 7%, pretty much in line with 2016 trends. Craft up less than 3% in final qtr, and ended yr up less than 5% (as IRI defines segment). So while imports gained 0.9 share of volume in Q4, superpremiums (essentially Michelob Ultra) +0.4, craft eked out less than 0.2 share gain for the period. Mainstream brands (premium + subpremium) shed 1.2 share of volume in Q4, 1.5 share of $$. FMBs took a hit in latter part of yr: volume and $$ each down 3% in Q4. And cider continued down double-digits to close out 2016 in scans. Brewer and big-brand wise, Q4 not that much different than previous periods: AB and MC continued down, each losing about a half-share last 12 wks, just a bit less share erosion than they saw for full yr in IRI MULC. Constellation put up near 14% volume gain in Q4, picking up almost full share. HUSA off 0.9%, slightly better than full-yr trend. But Boston and Pabst each down more sharply in Q4 than YTD. Boston had easy comp, Pabst had very tuff one. Mikeâ€™s, Diageo Beer and Yuengling ended yr on up note in IRI scans. Really mixed bag for craft: Lagunitas, Stone, Bells, SweetWater, Founders, Firestone Walker, New Glarus and Dogfish Head each up double-digits in Q4. Sierra, New Belgium, Gambrinus, Craft Brew Alliance and Deschutes each down low to mid-singles.