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INSIGHTS Express is designed for busy beer execs who want faster news and more info. Available via fax or email (your choice), INSIGHTS Express delivers subscribers breaking news, key numbers, pithy quotes, and other interesting info 2X a week. That's over 100 issues each year.

In each INSIGHTS Express, you'll find breaking news balanced with other info you just won't see elsewhere.International news.Articles about smaller brewers.Trends in other industries that bear on the US beer biz. Alcohol policy issues. Statistical snapshots. And much, much more.

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Is subpremium becoming more of a battle ground between AB and MC?  AB will use one of its precious Super Bowl ad slots to advertise subpremium Busch, sources tell INSIGHTS. That’s a big departure from its perennial premium-and-above ad platforms in the Super Bowl. After all, this is very expensive real estate.  So why go there?   At same time, different AB branches in Southern Calif, not exactly a hotbed of subpremium sales, offered exceptionally low prices for 2 weeks 11/28-12/11.  Initially, these prices weren’t even offered to indy distribs, INSIGHTS hears. In response to inquiries, distribs reportedly told that these prices were “experiments.”  All these prices were at least several $$ below what independent distribs were charging.  In Pomona, AB selling Bud Ice quarts for $14.40/case (12 qts); in Riverside, AB selling Natural Light and Rolling Rock 12-packs for $8.90; in San Diego, AB did all those discounts plus Cobra, Hurricane, Natty 25-oz cans ($11.25 for 15).  Indy-LA area distrib Straub also had 25-oz can promotion at $11.25.  But no other indy distrib so far doing these particular promos as far as INSIGHTS knows.  Meanwhile, both AB branches and indy distribs will have hot $13.20 12-pack premium prices next week…

Publishing Info

  • Year 2016
  • Volume 18
  • Issue # 218
Tho many speculate that legal pot will negatively affect alcohol consumption, that’s mostly not borne out by data so far. Looking at Beer Institute state-by-state data thru Oct 2016, shipments to states where pot’s legal are mostly up.  In Colo, beer shipments up 117,000 bbls, 3.7% again in 2016, following a 1% drop in ’15, 4% gain in ’14 (pot legalized in 2012).  So mixed bag, but generally trending upwards, whether because of pot tourism, complementarity or whatever other reason.  In Oreg, shipments up 41,000 bbls, 1.6% for 10 mos in first yr that pot’s legal.  And Alaska beer sales up at a double-digit pace.  Up 49,000 bbls, 12%.  Only Wash showed decline so far.  Shipments dropped 65,000 bbls, 1.7% thru Oct, following 2.6% gain in 2015, 6% gain in 2014.   Meanwhile, lengthy article in Politico points out that “with little more than the stroke of his own pen, the new attorney general” (nominee Jeff Sessions), who stongly opposes marijuana use, could reinstate “aggressive enforcement” against growers, sellers and users and “cause chaos in the $6.7 billion industry.”

Publishing Info

  • Year 2016
  • Volume 18
  • Issue # 217
No stranger to the courts or challenging state laws that interfere with its biz model, largest US indie wine/liquor retailer Total Wine & More is at it again.  Lawsuit in US Dist Ct alleges combo of Connecticut’s price posting laws and bans of selling “below cost” and volume discounts “facilitate and impel wholesalers to combine, conspire, and agree, either tacitly or explicitly, to fix and maintain wholesale and retail prices.... Total Wine & More sees evidence of price-fixing and resale price maintenance by wholesalers on a monthly basis.”   Producers participate in price fixing too, Total alleges, via price-posting info that’s shared among competitors.  System prevents Total from providing lower prices to consumers by leveraging its “market and business efficiencies.”  Suit cites study by Distilled Spirits Council that found CT residents pay up to 24% more for same products than consumers in neighboring states.  With no CT regulators “actively” supervising system that upper tiers use to post, match and coordinate both bottle and case prices, scheme violates fed antitrust laws barring horizontal and vertical price fixing, Total claims.  Total seeks declaration that laws “void and of no force and effect,” plus injunction against their enforcement.  Specifically, price posting law allows wholesalers…

Publishing Info

  • Year 2016
  • Volume 18
  • Issue # 152
Just not getting any better for beer and most brewers in GuestMetrics database of over 9K on-premise accounts, in data for 4 wks thru Jul 8 reported by Exane BNP Paribas.  All in, beer volume -6.5%, $$ sales -4.3% for those 4 wks, each a slightly steeper dropoff than in Q2.  Craft $$ -3% but gained share, premium lights -7.1%, continued to lose share.  Constellation and “smaller” craft brewers were the winners.  AB continued down, volumes -6.3%, $$ -4.1%, but AB gained modest share as it outperformed the mkt.  Bud Light and Bud down 7.2%, 5.5% respectively.  But Michelob Ultra +8%, Stella off just 1%.  Each of MC, Heineken, Boston and Pabst saw volume dip 9% or more this period. MC volume -9.5%, $$ down 7.8%; each of Miller Lite, Coors Light and Blue Moon off about 7% in $$.  HUSA even softer: volume -11.4%, $$ down 10.1%.  Brand Heineken off near 13%, Dos down 6.6%.  And Boston and Pabst even softer than that, with respective $$ sales -13.8% and -12.8%.  Even Lagunitas down 7%.  Outside of Constellation, among top 25, only Stone, Firestone Walker, Founders, Sapporo and Victory increased dollar sales in GuestMetrics universe for 4 wks, Exane BNP…

Publishing Info

  • Year 2016
  • Volume 18
  • Issue # 152
Annual Tamarron Survey allows distribs to rate suppliers across various relationship and performance categories.  This yr’s version focused lots on “evolving tier responsibilities” and included both distrib and supplier views on those responsibilities. Tho tiers aligned in some areas, interesting and wide gaps in others.  This year, Tamarron got results from 226 distribs selling 1/3 of industry volume.  Avg volume was 4.3 mil cases, in same range as last 6 yrs (just under 4 mil cases to just over 4.3 mil).  A little over half (54%) of distribs reported revs over $50 mil, 46% were below that amount.  Just 7% were over $300 mil.  Since 2005, distribs went from avg of 13 suppliers to 35, 63 brands to 251 and 268 SKUs to 1,082.  MC won the overall performance rating, scoring 3.61 (range is 1-5), edging out Boston Beer (3.59) which had won previous 7 yrs.  Constellation came in a strong #3 at 3.46.  MC ceo Gavin Hattersley and sales prexy Kevin Doyle sent e-mail to employees on Friday, noting this was MC’s first win of Tamarron and pointing out that “we ranked above the industry average in all 13 functional areas and all 74 questions.”  Avg mark distribs gave…

Publishing Info

  • Year 2016
  • Volume 18
  • Issue # 136
As scan data shows significant craft slowdown so far this yr and several biggest players flat-to-down in first half, craft segment as defined by BA posted 8% growth Jan-Jun, estimates Bart Watson.  Craft scored double-digit gains each of last 6 calendar yrs.  Elusive craft definition complicates reported trends.  Bart’s growth estimate based on brewers that will be in BA-data set in 2016.  That excludes fast-growers Lagunitas and Ballast Point (Founders already out), as they’re not BA-defined craft brewers anymore.  Another fast-grower, AB’s Goose Island, ain’t in the number either.  Trend would be higher with ’em.  Recall, BA does not include big brewers’ craft brands/acquisitions, nor Craft Brew Alliance. But BA does include Yuengling, which softens trend.  So do first-half downturns at Boston, Sierra Nevada and a coupla other big craft brewers.  But “long tail of craft continues to smoke,” sez Bart, “there's very little evidence of much of a slowdown there.”  Tail and newbies adding incremental and oft-missed on-site/taproom volume not measured by other data services.   Speakin’ of newbies, no slowdown in folks entering the biz.  A whoppin’ 917 new operating brewers in US since same time last yr and brewer count now sits at 4,656.  Oh yeah, there’s another…

Publishing Info

  • Year 2016
  • Volume 18
  • Issue # 132