Drinks account for a significant proportion of many c-stores’ total revenue. Long drinks, such as beer and cider, are often particularly important to impulse outlets. How is the market for beer and cider at present? Are fruit flavoured ciders still the hottest growth properties in the cider market? Craft beers are said to be achieving substantial sales. Is that the case? If so can c-stores cash in?
After 2014 – one of the most important sporting years in Scotland in recent times – is there a danger that 2015 will suffer an events-related sales decline?
SO, did beer have a happy Christmas? Well in terms of unit sales things look to have been healthy. In terms of prices, perhaps not so much.
The latest beer, wine and spirits newsletter from specialist retail research firm Nielsen, using findings from its Scantrack programme for the 12-week period until 3 January 2015, which covers sales through off-trade outlets across Britain and will therefore be heavily influenced by supermarket sales, suggested the average price for beer and cider in the 12 weeks to Christmas fell by 0.5% compared to the year before.
That was driven, in large part by a 1.1% decline in the price of lager. Only three of the top 15 beer and cider brands increased their average price per litre over the previous year.
However volume sales grew 2.1% compared to the previous Christmas.
Once the firm did the maths it added up to a value increase of 1.6%.
In UK terms Stella and Budweiser were found by Nielsen to have been the top two lager brands for volume growth. Both were more than 10% up in terms of the liquid sold. However, Nielsen reckons a decline in average price of around 4% for both brands will have been a contributing factor to those volume increases – equivalent to around 50p a bottle in Budweiser multipack deals.
Christmas 2013 had been the first festive period that premium lager had sold in greater volume than standard lager. That trend continued at Christmas 2014, with premium lager volumes up by 8% while volumes of standard lager declined by 2%.
Ale, however, remained a very healthy category, with seven of the top 10 brands growing in volume, Nielsen found.
And the firm reckons craft beer is set for a boom. “Craft beer continues to rise in popularity,” the researcher said.
“We can safely say well in advance that despite many retailers looking to rationalise shelf space, 2015 will be a record year for the category.”