Similar to faster trends seen earlier in summer around July 4 holiday, craft sales picked up again in weeks leading up to Labor Day. Craft $$ sales up 5.8% for 4 wks thru Sep 2 (Saturday of Labor Day long weekend) in Nielsen all-outlet + convenience data. Volume +4.5%, gained 0.3 share of beer cases to 7.3. Total beer biz a bit better this period too, tho volume still off 0.4% due to mid-single declines of premium segments. Same basic story at the top of craft segment with quite a mixed bag among top brand families. Sierra Nevada losses slowing into back-half of the year. Volume still down 3.7% for 4 wks, about half co’s YTD decline. Not so for Sam Adams franchise, -18.5%, less than a point better than its YTD trend. Note that Boston Beer’s total biz down just 0.6% for 4 wks as Twisted Tea volume up 16% and Truly Spiked and Sparkling comin’ on (Angry Orchard off 6%). Other top craft brand family in Nielsen havin’ tough time this yr, Shock Top, also better lately, but no great shakes: cases -14% for 4 wks. Tho Shock Top clearly losin’ share of segment, AB ain’t. Total co’s share of craft, including acquired brands, flat for 4 wks, implying mid-singles gain all-in. Constellation craft-share losses actually a skosh steeper than YTD tho, -0.15 vs -0.05, tho that doesn’t include Funky Buddha quite yet.
On the upside, New Belgium turned juice back on, volume up just over 10% for 4 wks thru 9/2. But at top it’s pair of MillerCoors brands adding biggest bumps at end of summer. Total Blue Moon franchise remains up about 2% for 4 wks and YTD. But flagship Belgian White now up double-digits, +11.4% for 4 wks. And Leinenkugel’s Shandy franchise flyin’ lately, +31% for 4 wks, now up close to 10% YTD. So MC gained 0.9 share of craft volume for 4 wks, even tho total Blue Moon family lost 0.2 share. Other big share gainer of segment? “Remaining Domestic Brewers” (including Sierra, NBB and all below, including sizeable gainers like Lagunitas, Founders) +1.7 share of craft. All told, those brewers +5.1% by volume for 4 wks, $$ +6.1% (including smaller non-craft entrants, FMB and cider-makers).