long drink

Sports and Entertainment Celebrities Join The Long Drink

long drink

Sports and Entertainment Celebrities Join The Long Drink

We continue to see celebrities join the spirits space…

Top-selling DJ and music producer, Kygo as well as PGA standout Rickie Fowler have both announced their involvement in The Long Drink, a unique canned cocktail inspired by the national drink of Finland. The news arrives almost exactly a year after Hollywood A-lister Miles Teller joined the brand.

Read more here!


beverage sales

SALES UPDATE FOR WEEK ENDING AUGUST 15TH

beverage sales

MHW and Nielsen continue to provide you with the latest weekly update for beer, wine, and spirits sales in Nielsen measured off premise channels. Again, please note that this represents retail sales in key off premise trade channels, and not all trade channels.

TOTAL BEVERAGE ALCOHOL

Unless otherwise noted, all trends below are for Nielsen off premise channels for the week ending 8/15/20 compared to the same week in 2019. We continue to remind our readers that we measure sales in specific off premise channels, and that the impact of the health crisis on sales is uneven across companies in the alcohol industry.

For the past several weeks, total fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) growth rates have been hovering near 8%, with the latest week ending 8/15/20 up 7.9%. As consumers continue to engage in a more homebody-centric lifestyle, food essentials continue to drive growth across the FMCG industry. Frozen foods, dairy, meat, produce, and seafood are leading growth for the latest week. Similarly, the homebody economy continues to impact off premise alcohol sales, which grew 18.4% for the week ending 8/15/20 compared to the same week last year. Spirits lead the growth, up 27.5%, followed by wine up 17.7%, and beer/FMB/cider up 15.7%.

PACKAGING: CANS

Cans obviously have received a lot of attention during the past months, but how much have they grown? It depends which category we’re talking about. In beer/FMB/cider, cans account for 64% of category dollars, and are growing in dollar sales, up 25% for COVID weeks (beginning the first week of March) compared to the same time period last year. Slim cans in particular are leading growth in the category, up 107% for COVID weeks compared to last year. Slim cans currently account for 20.4% of can dollars in beer, up from 13% in pre-COVID time periods.

In wine and spirits, cans account for a very small percentage of dollar sales; however, with the growth of canned wines and canned ready-to-drink cocktails, spritzers, and seltzers, they are becoming increasingly more important and popular. In spirits, cans were nearing triple-digit growth even prior to COVID (+88%), and that growth has accelerated during COVID (+140%) in Nielsen off premise channels. Cans account for an extremely small portion of total off premise spirit sales (1.2%), but that has nearly doubled since pre-COVID time periods.

Wine is the one category where can growth has slowed during COVID. While there has been a lot of recent discussion around canned wine growth, off premise canned wine sales for COVID year to date (+57%) actually lag growth rates for pre-COVID time periods (71%). That said, share of canned wine is increasing, with cans accounting for 1.1% of total category dollars in wine during COVID weeks, up from 0.8% in pre-COVID time periods in off premise channels. Historically, canned wine has held a stronger presence in off premise compared to on premise. However, with the increase in consumer concern around health and safety, we are beginning to see restaurants expand on ideas like canned wine gardens. It will be interesting to see if this will further normalize the idea of cans and other alternative packaging for wine and even ready-to-drink cocktails.

ON-PREMISE

  • Visitation to bars/restaurants for eating occasions slightly increased in the previous two weeks: 46% have been out to eat in the past two weeks and 14% have been out for a drink.
  • We see an increase in the % eating out particularly in Florida, suggesting there has been a positive response to the stricter guidelines placed on venues.
  • Mid-value drinks/brands are the most frequently ordered in bars/restaurants (50%) and 7/10 consumers are doing this as frequently as pre-COVID-19.
  • On the flip side, 35% of consumers ordered a premium drink in the last two weeks, but 50% of those consumers said they are doing this more than pre-Covid-19. This shows a group of consumers are treating themselves within the On Premise market.
  • The number of consumers going out at least 3 times in the last 2 weeks continues to increase, showing frequent visitation is still seeing improvement and those who are going out are growing confidence.

SPIRITS: OFF PREMISE

In Nielsen off premise channels, total spirits are up 33.8% for the COVID YTD time period, and up 27.5% for the latest week. For the latest week, ready-to-drink cocktails lead growth, up 113%, followed by tequila (+61.2%), cognac (+59.8%), cordials (32.2%) and whiskey (+25.6%). Small spirits sizes continue to bounce back in growth compared to early COVID weeks, with 100 ml bottles up 33.9% and 50 ml up 22.9% for the latest week in off premise channels.

WINE: OFF PREMISE

In Nielsen off premise channels, wine is up 25.5% in dollar growth for COVID weeks, and up 17.7% for the latest week ending 8/15/20. Sparkling wine growth (+35.5%) continues to outpace growth of table wine (+13.5%), with French champagne leading (+72.3%). Wine-based cocktails had triple-digit growth in the latest week, up 109% compared to the same week last year. Within table wine, all price tiers are growing, with the exception of value wines (<$4), which were down 5.3% in off premise for the latest week. All price tiers $11 and higher are experiencing strong double-growth in off premise channels for the latest week.

BEER/FMB/CIDER: OFF PREMISE

For COVID YTD (first week of March through 8/15/20), beer/FMB/cider is up 18.9% in Nielsen off premise channels. Off premise growth rates have slowed some since the beginning of June, which are up 15.9% in off premise channels for the total category, and up 8.6% for core beer (excluding “beyond beer” segments). For the latest week, beer/FMB/cider grew 15.7% in off premise dollar sales.

For the latest week in off premise sales, all segments are growing, with the exception of below premium, which is down slightly (-0.3%) compared to the same week last year. Premium light brands are up 6.4%, with all three premium light brands among the top 15 growth brands for the week.

Hard seltzers led growth, up 123% for the latest week compared to last year. As a reminder, there are very tough comps from August 2019 for hard seltzer, so the continued triple-digit growth for hard seltzers is one of so many signs that hard seltzers will not slow down. For COVID weeks (beginning first week of March), hard seltzers accounted for 9.2% of total category dollars in off premise. Hard seltzer share has accelerated during the summer months, and now accounts for 10.5% of category dollars for the latest 11 weeks ending 8/15/20. Other strong segments for the week included hard tea +38%, super premium +22%, craft +14.4%, cider +11.9%, and non-alcoholic beer +40%. Mexican imports had its strongest week in a while, up 11.2%.

With the improvement in craft beer trends in off premise, particularly during the past several weeks, we dug into some of the specific styles that are driving those growth trends. Total craft growth for COVID year to date (week ending 3/7/20 through 8/15/20) is 15.8% in Nielsen off premise channels. IPAs (+26.5%) continue to outpace total craft growth in off premise, and are still by far the largest style in craft beer, accounting for 41% of off premise craft dollars for COVID year to date. This is up from 37% for that same time period last year. However, most of that share growth was driven by hazy IPAs and imperial/double/triple IPAs. If we were to remove hazy and double/triple IPAs from the scope, IPAs would be up 18% in dollar growth, and account for 26.8% of craft off premise dollars, up only 0.5 share points from last year. Hazy styles now account for 7.0% of craft off premise dollars, and are up 78% in dollar sales for the COVID YTD time period compared to last year. Other craft beer styles that are leading growth in off premise during COVID weeks include American wheat ales (+113%), sour ales (+61.3%) and non-alcoholic craft beers (+176%).


beverage sales

SALES UPDATE FOR WEEK ENDING AUGUST 8TH

nielsen beverage update

MHW and Nielsen continue to provide you with the latest weekly update for beer, wine, and spirits sales in Nielsen measured off-premise channels. Again, please note that this represents retail sales in key off-premise trade channels and not all trade channels.

TOTAL ALCOHOL

Unless otherwise noted, all trends below are for Nielsen off-premise channels for the week ending 8/08/20 compared to the same week in 2019. We continue to remind our readers that we measure sales in specific off-premise channels, and that the impact of the health crisis on sales is uneven across companies in the alcohol industry.

For the latest week ending 8/8/20, total fast-moving consumer good sales growth maintained, up 7.7% compared to the same week last year. Off-premise alcohol growth slowed some, but remains in double digits, up 17.7% compared to last year. Total off-premise alcohol sales are up 23.5% for COVID YTD (first week of March through the week ending 8/8/20). Spirits growth led for the latest week, up 27.9%, followed by wine up 19.1%, and then beer/FMB/cider up 13.8%. Core beer (excluding ‘beyond beer’ segments such as hard seltzers and FMBs) was up 8.0%.


bev sales

SALES UPDATE FOR WEEK ENDING AUGUST 1ST

bev sales

SALES UPDATE FOR WEEK ENDING AUGUST 1ST

The Nielsen and MHW partnership continue to provide you with the latest weekly update for beer, wine, and spirits sales in Nielsen measured off premise channels along with our commentary. Again, please note that this represents retail sales in certain key off premise trade channels – not ALL trade channels. As you all know, while the on premise had begun to re-open to varying extents across the country, there have been pauses and/or retreats more recently, and so off premise volume growth will have to still be very significant to offset on premise declines vs year ago. We’ll be watching these shifts carefully along with our on premise partners (Nielsen CGA). As always, a reminder that this also represents a total category view – and we recognize that the impacts on individual companies within the alcohol industry are not equal.

TOTAL BEVERAGE ALCOHOL

Unless otherwise noted, all trends below are for Nielsen off premise channels for the week ending 8/01/20 compared to the same week in 2019. We continue to remind our readers that we measure sales in specific off premise channels, and that the impact of the health crisis on sales is uneven across companies in the alcohol industry.

For the latest week ending 8/1/20, total fast-moving consumer good sales growth dropped to single digits, up 7.8% compared to the same week last year. Off premise alcohol growth slowed some, but remains in double digits, up 17.5% compared to last year. Total off premise alcohol sales are up 23.6% for COVID YTD (first week of March through the week ending 8/1/20). Spirits growth led for the latest week, up 29.0%, followed by wine up 17.3%, and then beer/FMB/cider up 13.9%. Core beer (excluding ‘beyond beer’ segments such as hard seltzers and FMBs) was up 7.8%.

stats

ON PREMISE

Visitation to bars/restaurants for eating and drinking occasions remains flat for the previous two weeks: 42% have been out to eat in the past two weeks and 15% have been out for a drink. With visitation remaining fairly flat it appears we have plateaued out on those consumers willing to return to the on premise before the situation improves. Therefore, outlets may need to look at fresh approaches to reaching out to those who have not returned.

Visitation for eating by age once again reveals a fairly even split across demographics, revealing that the vulnerability of age does not appear to be a contributing factor to concern over visitation. Drinking occasions for younger people have fallen though, as bar closures have an impact. Both drinking and eating occasions are increasing in New York but are beginning to decline slightly again in Florida (for eating) and Texas (for drinking).

BEER/FMB/CIDER

In a shift from initial COVID months, beer/FMB/cider in the convenience channel is outpacing growth of larger channels for the fifth consecutive week. For the week ending 8/01/20, beer/FMB/cider grew 16.7% in the convenience channel, while the larger channels of Nielsen xAOC measurement universe (food, drug, mass, club) lagged, up 9.9% in dollar growth compared to the same week last year. This is a reverse in trends from the earlier months of COVID, when consumers were stocking up at grocery and other large-format stores. During the early stages of COVID, growth rates of the grocery channel were close to double the growth rates of the convenience channel. The bounce back of c-store, which of course is beer’s most important channel, is another sign that consumers have settled into a “next” normal.

BEER/FMB/CIDER ACROSS KEY BEER STATES

This week we looked at beer performance in a few key beer states across the country to see where segments and brands are underperforming and overperforming. A note that this analysis is looking at Nielsen xAOC measurement universe, which does not include the convenience channel. In this case, the beer/FMB/cider category grew 9.9% in Nielsen xAOC for total U.S. As a comparison, I looked across the xAOC channel in California, Illinois, Texas, Ohio, Florida, and New York. So, which states are outpacing total U.S. growth? California leads at +14.3%, followed by Florida at +10%, then Ohio +8.2%, New York +6.4%, Illinois +5.7%, and finally Texas +4.8%.

What are the primary growth drivers in each of these states? Let’s start with California. The #1 growth driver is hard seltzer, which isn’t exactly a surprise.

However, the magnitude of growth is impressive. Hard seltzers contributed to 70% of the category’s growth in CA for the latest week. Hard seltzers represented the top 4 growth brand extensions in CA. The second strongest growth segment in CA was craft beer, up 15% compared to the same week last year, with Sierra Nevada’s Hazy Little Thing driving growth in its home state. Imports and super premium segments were also strong contributors.

Some other trends to mention:

  • Hard seltzers growth rates lagged in IL and NY (although still up very strong double digits in both of those states)
  • Craft growth slowed a lot in IL, FL, and New York
  • Mexican imports performed strongest in IL, but had the toughest declines in NY
  • White Claw assorted #2 was the top growth brand extension in 4 of the 6 states.In Illinois Mich Ultra topped the list, while in Texas Truly lemonade mix came in as the top growth brand for the week.

SPIRITS

Spirits continue to lead growth, up 29.0% in Nielsen off premise for the latest week ending 8/01/20 compared to the same week last year. Ready-to-drink cocktails once again holds the title of fastest-growing segment, up 100% in off premise dollar sales. Cognac and tequila, up 67.3% and 64.3% respectively, continue with strong off premise growth, given their previously strong presence in on premise, which has shifted to off premise. Whiskey is still the strongest actual contributor to growth, accounting for 32% of total spirits growth; however, growth rates lag the category, up 27.6% compared to last year.

Tequila is growing at a phenomenal pace in off premise channels, and it is also taking share from other top categories in spirits. For COVID year-to-date (the beginning of March through 8/01/20), tequila has gained 2.2 share points in spirits in off premise channels, and gained 2.6 share points for the latest week of data compared to that same week last year. It isn’t slowing down. Tequila’s growth during COVID is fueled by multiple factors:

  • The first is tequila’s growth trajectory prior to COVID. Tequila was thefastest-growing category in on and off premise before COVID, and thattrajectory hasn’t changed.
  • The second is tequila’s strong presence in the on premise, which now has shifted to the off premise, as drinkers are seeking that same tequilaexperience, but at home.
  • The high end is also fueling growth. Prior to COVID, the ultra premium price tier of tequila was the fastest-growing tier in tequila, and that trend continues during COVID in off premise channels.
  • While the long tail of tequila is increasing its presence in the category, there are still just a few brands that are driving most of the growth dollars. For the past five months (COVID YTD), the 5 top growth brands in tequila accounted for nearly 60% of the category’s growth in off premise.

WINE

For the week ending 8/01/20, the wine category was up 17.3% in Nielsen off premise channels. Table wine was up 13.6%, lagging total category growth, whereas sparkling wine grew 32.8% in off premise channels, far outpacing total category growth rates. For the latest week, table wine lost 2.7 share points compared to the same week last year, while sparkling wine and wine-based cocktails picked up share, (+1.2 and +0.7 share points respectively). Wine-based cocktails are nearing triple-digit growth rates again, up 93.6% in off premise dollar sales compared to last year.

With partial re-openings of on premise beginning in various parts of the country in late May, the summer months of June and July have represented the phase of the “next” normal for COVID and alcohol beverages. So we wanted to take a look at how brands are performing across table wine during this next normal. In the list below, the column on the left represents the top 15 growth brands in table wine for June and July of 2019 (9 weeks ending 8/03/19). The column on the right represents the top 15 growth brands for June and July of this year (9 weeks ending 8/01/20). Growth brands are ranked by actual dollar change in Nielsen off premise channels.

The top 15 growth brands for the latest 9 weeks are contributing more overall dollars to the wine category, compared to the top 15 growth brands last year during this same time period. This year’s growth brands account for 26% of table wine dollars, whereas last year’s 15 growth brands accounted for 10% of table wine dollars in off premise channels. More than half (8) of the growth brands for this year were not on the growth brand list last summer. These brands represent the shift to large sizes and boxed wine, as well as some large and iconic brands in wine. It also represents a shift away from private label, which was on the growth brand list for 2019, but not for latest 9 weeks.

wine stats


wine sales

SALES UPDATE FOR WEEK ENDING JULY 11TH

wine sales

SALES UPDATE FOR WEEK ENDING JULY 11TH

The MHW and Nielsen partnership continue to provide you with the latest weekly update for beer, wine, and spirits sales in Nielsen measured off premise channels along with our commentary. Again, please note that this represents retail sales in certain key off premise trade channels – not ALL trade channels. As you all know, while the on premise had begun to re-open to varying extents across the country, there have been pauses and/or retreats more recently, and so off premise volume growth will have to still be very significant to offset on premise declines vs year ago. We’ll be watching these shifts carefully along with our on premise partners (Nielsen CGA). As always, a reminder that this also represents a total category view – and we recognize that the impacts on individual companies within the alcohol industry are not equal.

TOTAL BEVERAGE ALCOHOL

Unless otherwise noted, all trends below are for Nielsen off premise channels for the week ending 7/11/2020 compared to the same week in 2019. We continue to remind our readers that we are only measuring sales in some specific off premise channels, and that the impact of the health crisis on sales is uneven across companies in the Alcohol industry.

Growth trends are back in the double digits for alcohol in Nielsen measured off premise channels. Total alcohol is up 17.3% in dollar growth for off premise channels for the week ending 7/11/20 compared to the same week last year, well up from the +11.8% posted last week, largely due to stronger beer/FMB/cider growth as the latest week likely captured the full impact of the July 4th weekend. The overall +17.3% increase for Alcohol is about double the growth rate of total Fast Moving Consumer Goods (+8.8%).

Spirits lead growth, up 25.5%, which is still significantly above wine +16.6%, and beer/FMB/cider +14.9%. Total alcohol sales for off premise channels are down 14.1% compared to the prior week, but that is expected, given the sales volume for the July 4th holiday week that was the prior week. Core beer (excluding beyond beer segments of FMBs, seltzers, etc.) fared a bit better this week, up 7.6% in off premise dollars compared to the same week last year.

E-COMMERCE

Online sales continue to play a role in off premise growth for alcohol. For the COVID weeks ending 6/27/20 (beginning the first week of March), online off premise alcohol dollar sales grew 309% compared to that same time period last year. Week-over-week, alcohol was the fastest – or one of the fastest – growing categories in ecommerce channels. We should note, however, that alcohol is also one of the smallest categories in ecommerce channels, so there is a lot of opportunity for growth.

Across total consumer goods, click & collect growth rates have exceeded those of delivery, up 95% and 39% for the week ending July 4, 2020. Growth rates for click and collect alcohol have maintained triple-digit growth throughout COVID.

Across the three categories in alcohol, wine maintains the bulk of the share of online alcohol sales, however, spirits has been growing faster and gaining share throughout COVID impacted weeks. The challenge of course for beer is to identify ways to gain a bigger piece of that online pie.

ON PREMISE

Based on Nielsen CGA RestaurantTrak data (comprised of c15,000 independent restaurant operators and smaller groups), after a slight dip in overall restaurant sales for the July 4 weekend, the On Premise at a Total US level saw week on week growth again (+4%), but the performance varied by state. A common thread across all states is that key cities have and continue to fare worse than the rest of their respective state.

On Premise velocity is -30% lower than last year in the week to July 11 in outlets that are operational, but it does represent a +184% increase compared to March 28 when the On Premise shutdown commenced. Average check value is also continuing its upward trajectory and is now only -7% lower than it was a year ago.

BEER/FMB/CIDER

The growth engine of hard seltzers continues with triple-digit growth, up 149% in off premise channels for the week ending 7/11/20 vs year ago. Hard seltzer dollar share of the category is 11%, down from the previous week’s record-breaking share of nearly 12%, but up slightly from the several weeks prior to July 4th. Truly lemonade mix pack continues to make waves, and is the second biggest growth driver among brand extensions, with Mich Ultra as the first and White Claw variety pack #2 as the third.

The latest week of off premise data also looks better for super premiums (driven by Mich Ultra) at +19.6%. Crafts are also back to double-digit growth, up 10.6%, and Mexican imports had a slightly better week, up 8.2%, which is still much lower than the COVID YTD dollar growth rates for Mexican imports, which is 16.8%. As we discussed last week, out of stocks are most likely driving the slowing of growth for Mexican import beer. Other segment performance: premium lights +5.0%, FMBs (excluding seltzers) +6.7%, cider +2.3%, and below premium -1.6%, which was the only segment in the category to have negative growth trends.

WINE

Wine dollar sales in Nielsen measured off premise channels grew +16.6% in the most recent week vs year ago, up slightly from last week’s +15.6%.

Sparkling wines continued to grow faster than table wine – in fact, while earlier on in the health crisis, sparkling wines were lagging, it’s been eleven consecutive weeks now where sparkling wines have grown in excess of table wine, and often by substantial margins. During the last six weeks for instance, sparkling is up 31.1%, almost double that of table wine growth, and imports (both Champagne and Prosecco) are contributing to that. This suggests that sparkling wine, just like pre-COVID, is a strong segment, and that a large number of consumers are still celebrating many occasions, but just transferring those celebrations from a restaurant or bar to ‘around the home’.

Latest Direct to Consumer (Dtc) wine shipment numbers for June 2020 from Nielsen’s partnership with Wines Vines Analytics in collaboration with Sovos ShipCompliant showed a hefty dollar increase +31%, and an almost +40% increase on volume, again depressing the average price vs year ago. This is now the fourth consecutive month where volume growth exceeded value, although the June gap was not as large as April or May. And on the encouraging side, the 31% increase in dollars was the highest of the last four months. The total 12 month value of DtC wine shipments is now creeping up on $3.5 billion in sales.

Segments trailing overall DtC shipment growth were wines from Napa and Washington state, while Sonoma, Oregon, and Rem U.S. (wine producing states beyond CA, OR, and WA) posted substantial gains well ahead of the total category

SPIRITS

Spirits’ growth of +25.5% continues to lead the other beverage alcohol categories by a wide margin, almost 10 points better than wine or beer/FMB/cider.

Leading with growth at minimum +50% and for some much more are RTD (+71.6%), Tequila (+69.4%), and Cognac (+53.1%). Vodka just managed to stay out of single digit territory with dollar growth of just +10%, well behind the overall spirits category.

The higher Ultra Premium spirits tier continues to outperform the growth rate of the other price tiers below it, with growth rates generally above +50% for most weeks. Remember again that all those consumers who might have ordered a cocktail in a restaurant or bar are able to save a significant amount of money when they buy a bottle of the same liquor or drink components, at a store or online, and have that drink at home. So purchase of an ‘expensive’ bottle of their favorite spirits might still represent a significant savings if that’s the case, OR some consumers may just want to ‘treat’ themselves and unwind.


july 4 beverage sales

SALES UPDATE FOR WEEK ENDING JULY 4TH

july 4 beverage sales

SALES UPDATE FOR WEEK ENDING JULY 4TH

Nielsen and MHW are pleased to provide you with the latest weekly update for beer, wine, and spirits sales in Nielsen measured off premise channels along with our commentary. Again, please note that this represents retail sales in certain key off premise trade channels – not ALL trade channels. As you all know, while the on premise had begun to re-open to varying extents across the country, there have been pauses and/or retreats more recently, and so off premise volume growth will have to still be very significant to offset on premise declines vs year ago. We’ll be watching these shifts carefully along with our on premise partners (Nielsen CGA). As always, a reminder that this also represents a total category view – and we recognize that the impacts on individual companies within the alcohol industry are not equal.

TOTAL BEVERAGE ALCOHOL

Unless otherwise noted, all trends below are for Nielsen off premise channels for the week ending 6/20/20 compared to the same week in 2019. We continue to remind our readers that we are only measuring sales in some specific off premise channels, and that the impact of the health crisis on sales is uneven across companies in the Alcohol industry.

With a second round of closures for the on premise in many states, we expected off premise trends to be stronger for the July 4th holiday; however, as we have seen week over week over the past several months, off premise trends have been very unpredictable. Off premise performance for beer, in particular, was interesting and sobering in the latest week of Nielsen data given that July 4 is traditionally a big beer week.

Dollar growth for total off premise alcohol sales slowed to 11.5% for the week ending 7/4/2020, compared to overall growth rate of +6.3% for overall Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG). Spirits were up 23.2% and once again led alcohol growth, Wine followed at +15.2%, and beer/FMB/cider lagged significantly at just +6.6%. Core beer excluding “beyond” beer segments such as hard seltzer was actually down -0.8%. This is the first time since the last week of February that core beer experienced negative growth trends.

We do need to keep in mind a couple of things. The year ago comparison is versus the week ending July 6, 2019. July 4, 2019 fell in the middle of that week, so sales for that week reported by Nielsen were likely largely inclusive of most sales related to the holiday. This year July 4th fell on a Saturday; as such, it’s quite possible that this set of data may not fully reflect all of July 4th related sales, since some retailers don’t report their weekend sales until the following week, and there might have even been some carryover celebratory purchases made on Sunday, July 5th. Net net, we’ll need to see next week’s data to obtain a full grasp of off premise sales related to the July 4th holiday.

CONSUMER PURCHASING DYNAMICS

For the first time since the COVID related shutdowns took effect back in March, the increase in the number of households buying adult beverages off premise fell below +10% (up 7% and 8% respectively for the week ending 6/13 and 6/27 vs year ago). Spend per trip continues to be up over 10%, with 6/27 enjoying a 14% increase in total adult beverage $ per trip vs YAG. Trips per household are consistently slightly below last year.

Breaking down the last week in the quarter by Category shows some definite differences between Beer,

Beer buying households (excluding Seltzers/FMB/Cider) were flat vs YAG; however $ per trip were up 8%.

Wine buying households off premise increased by 11%, led by large double digit increases in sparkling wine; however, still wine $ per trip were up 18% vs YAG to help drive sales.

Spirits consumer dynamics continued to be very strong; 19% more households are buying this year off premise vs the same week YAG, with $ per trip up 11% for an overall strong consumer performance.

ON PREMISE

Based on Nielsen CGA RestaurantTrak data (comprised of c15,000 independent restaurant operators and smaller groups), sales velocities in the week ending June 27, 2020 improved to -10% vs the pre-COVID norm (for those outlets still open), representing a +220% increase vs the week ending March 28. However, there is predictably significant state by state variation based upon differences in COVID infection rates by state and government action in those states.

Over the weekend of July 3-5, Nielsen CGA surveyed consumers in Texas, Florida, California, and New York who drank alcohol in the last 3 months. While overall visitations to the on premise remained relatively stable (38% have been out primarily for an eating occasion, and 14% primarily for a drinking occasion), there was a significant increase in visits in New York, but only stable levels in the other states. When asked if the recent outbreaks and rise in COVID-19 cases in parts of the country had affected decisions to go out to the on premise, 61% said they chose not to go out at all, 27% remain unaffected, and 12% chose to go to a different venue.

Takeout and delivery remained important, with 65% ordering food and 11% ordering alcohol. The most popular means of ordering alcohol for takeout/delivery are directly from restaurants/bars (45%), from third party delivery apps (38%) and from online liquor, wine, and beer retailers (31%). Wine remains the most popular ‘alcohol type to go’ (red, then white), well above craft beer and cocktails in second and third place, respectively. Within Spirits, the popularity of the Margarita shone through, with Tequila being the most popular base for to-go cocktails

BEER/FMB/CIDER

News for the category wasn’t all dismal. To start with, the category had tough comps, with year ago comparisons being the largest beer-selling week of the year for off premise channels. This year is no different, with July 4th week accounting for the highest off premise dollar sales to date, totaling $1.16 billion dollars in Nielsen off premise channels. That’s up 15.3% compared to the previous week. However, if we consider the bump that July 4th typically provides to the beer category, we would have expected prior week comparisons to be even bigger. For example, for the week ending 07/06/19, beer/FMB/cider dollar sales were up 26% compared to the prior week. Another way to look at it would be to compare July 4th sales to an average week of beer sales throughout the year. In 2019, category dollar sales for the week of July 4th were 43% higher than the average weekly sales in off premise channels. This year, sales were 36% higher than average weekly sales to date for 2020. Of course, we should also note that average weekly sales for 2020 are completely out of the norm for the category in the off premise. Out of stocks most likely played a large role in the category’s July 4th performance. Yes, this was the biggest week of off premise sales for beer/FMB/cider in 2020, however, how much bigger could it have been without the out of stock challenges?

Who were the category winners for July 4th? Seltzers, seltzers, and seltzers. While dollar growth rates for seltzers have softened, up 134% compared to the same week last year (which again, were tough comps, particularly for hard seltzer), this still represents the segment’s strongest week in sales ever for off premise channels. What’s more is that hard seltzers experienced a big jump in dollar share, representing 11.9% of total category dollars for the week ending 7/4/20. That’s up more than a share point from the previous week. Seltzers essentially carried the category for the July 4th holiday, with White Claw and Truly alone accounting for 70% of the category growth dollars. The top 4 growth brand extensions for the entire category were White Claw variety pack #2, Truly lemonade mix, and Bud Light and Corona seltzer variety packs. Total off premise dollar ranking for hard seltzer brand families for the week ending 7/4/20 is:

  1. White Claw
  2. Truly
  3. Bud Light
  4. Corona
  5. Smirnoff
  6. Vizzy
  7. Natural
  8. Bon & Viv
  9. Wild Basin
  10. Press

Outside of hard seltzers, there were many segments that experienced low single-digit growth and even negative growth rates for the first time in months in off premise channels. Premium lights are down -3.3%, below premium -3.4%, cider -8.4%, and craft was flat at 0% (although independent or BA-defined craft was up a bit more than that at 0.8%). The super premium segment, which had been experiencing strong double-digit growth, was up 5.6%. Mexican imports were down -2.5%, which was most likely driven by out of stocks.

The slowing of growth for beer/FMB/cider doesn’t bring us back entirely to pre-COVID shopping behaviors. Growth rates of large pack sizes are still well above pre-COVID rates, with 30 packs up 4.9% (as a reminder, 30 packs were down in pre-COVID time periods), 24 packs up 8%, and 12 packs up 19.9%, although the 12 pack growth is largely driven by hard seltzer variety packs.

Channel performance played a big role in trends for the week ending 7/04/20, with the food channel in single digits (+7.3%) for the first time since the beginning of March. For context, the category is up 27.4% for COVID YTD in the food channel. While the convenience channel has typically lagged growth rates of grocery during COVID, this is the first week that we’ve seen beer in c-store surpass growth of beer in grocery. Category dollar sales in the convenience channel were up 9.4%.

WINE

Wine dollar sales in Nielsen measured off premise channels grew +15.2% in the most recent week vs year ago, down from +18.5% the last week, and it represents one of the lower growth rates for wine over the past three months. We should note that wine generally doesn’t experience the same sort of July 4th bump as do spirits, and especially beer. And in fact, wine’s dollar sales increase versus the prior week (+5.8%) was significantly lower than the double digit increases vs prior week for both beer and spirits.

It’s worth pointing out that some smaller wine segments are booming since the beginning of March through the current week, versus a year ago, particularly vermouth (+55%), flavored beverage wines (+82%) and wine based cocktails (up triple digits). The latter two are benefiting from consumer interest in the kinds of products and characteristics that are also behind the rise of hard seltzers – elements related to flavors, packaging (especially cans), health & wellness related characteristics, and effervescence.

Vermouth is likely benefiting from a combination of its use in food recipes with more consumers cooking at home, as well as an ingredient in a variety of popular cocktails, as an additive to a spritz, or as an aperitif on the rocks.

Within pack sizes, while the growth of most sizes cooled a bit, exceptions were the 375 ml bottle (it remains a hot growth segment, albeit on a small base) as well as 3L boxes, the latter likely benefiting from some July 4th related celebrations. Wine in cans hit a share high of 1.4% of total category dollars.

SPIRITS

Spirits’ growth of +23.2%, while also lower than in prior weeks, belies the fact that its weekly dollar sales of $440MM in Nielsen measured off premise channels represents its second highest weekly sales of 2020 to date. In addition, Spirits sales grew 16% vs the prior week – even larger than the % increase vs prior week for beer, so we definitely saw a July 4 related bump, perhaps aligning with the impact of renewed bar closures. All that said, spirits continues to grow its share of alcohol, as it continues to do a very effective job of transferring lost on premise sales to the off premise.

Generally, growth rate versus year ago deceleration was widespread by segment. Yet, most major sub-categories continue to post strong double digit percentage gains, with two exceptions – brandy now struggling to stay above year ago levels, and more significantly vodka with growth of +7.3% – the first time since mid-March we’ve seen its growth drop into the single digit ranges. As in the past, RTD cocktails and tequila growth remain solidly above others.


nabi

NABI - Oppose the Tariffs on EU Wines, Spirits, and Beer

nabi

National Association of Beverage Importers - Oppose the Tariffs on EU Wines, Spirits, and Beer

A message from NABI…

Now is the time to say “No” to the Airbus retaliatory tariffs and any expansion of those tariffs. Use this easy “click and comment” tool from NABI to submit a comment to the United States Trade Representative and reach out to your congressional representatives.

During the previous comment periods, USTR was stunned by the large number of comments received opposing retaliatory tariffs on wine, spirits, and beer/non-alcoholic beer. They need to hear again from a large public voice.

Share this link with your friends, family, colleagues, neighbors, employees, and fellow social drinkers here in the United States who paying the price of these harmful tariffs. Ask them to echo a resounding “NO.”

This easy link is on the NABI website under News on the Home Page.

Lengthier comment letters may be submitted as attachments on the USTR Portal for Public Comments through July 26, 2020.


feature story

USTR decision in the French digital services tax investigation

feature story

NABI and MHW are pleased that beverage alcohol is not tariffed. At least, here is on victory.

  • Tariffs of 25 percent were imposed on 21 tariff subheading of goods that total $1.3 billion in value of trade.
  • French sparkling wine and champagne is not tariffed.
  • The 21 items are handbags and cosmetics.
  • USTR delayed the implementation of the retaliatory tariffs for 180 days. Under the Trade Act of 1974, USTR may delay the effective date if it believes that progress is being made on a solution. The efforts at the OECD are an on-going multilateral effort and discussions with France are ongoing.
  • The effective date of the retaliatory tariffs is January 6, 2020.

USTR will “continue to monitor the effect of the trade action and the progress of discussions with France, and may adopt appropriate modifications.”

Click here for more information.


sales beer wine

SALES UPDATE FOR WEEK ENDING JUNE 20TH

SALES UPDATE FOR WEEK ENDING JUNE 20TH

sales beer wineThe MHW and Nielsen partnership continues to provide you with the latest weekly update for beer, wine, and spirits sales in Nielsen measured off premise channels along with our commentary.

Again, please note that this represents retail sales in certain key off premise trade channels – not ALL trade channels. As you all know, while the on premise had begun to re-open to varying extents across the country, there have been pauses and/or retreats more recently, and so off premise volume growth will have to still be very significant to offset on premise declines vs year ago. We’ll be watching these shifts carefully along with our on premise partners (Nielsen CGA). As always, a reminder that this also represents a total category view – and we recognize that the impacts on individual companies within the alcohol industry are not equal.

TOTAL BEVERAGE ALCOHOL

Unless otherwise noted, all trends below are for Nielsen off premise channels for the week ending 6/20/20 compared to the same week in 2019. We continue to remind our readers that we are only measuring sales in some specific off premise channels, and that the impact of the health crisis on sales is uneven across companies in the Alcohol industry.

Despite the RE-OPENING of on premise (remember this is for w/e 6-20-2020, and before more recent pauses and/or re-tightening of restrictions), alcohol off premise sales trends continued to grow with very strong double-digit gains, up 25.4% for the latest week ending 6/20/20 compared to the same week last year. Spirits in particular had a very strong week, up 39.5%, representing the strongest growth since the week of Cinco de Mayo, with almost every segment up 30% or higher for the latest week. Last week we reported that wine fell behind beer/FMB/cider in growth rates for the week ending 6/13/20; however, wine is back to the second fastest growing category for week ending 6/20/20, up 23.7%. Beer/FMB/cider grew 21.2% for the latest week.

Comparatively, total FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) had a relatively strong week, up 12.5% vs year ago, but essentially flat (-0.2%) compared to the prior week ending 6/13/20. Aside from off premise alcohol, other consumer goods categories that are driving growth include food essentials in the frozen department, dairy, meat, seafood, and produce.

With the July 4 holiday and long weekend almost here (typically more of an off-premise holiday), along with a string of “pauses” and “closures” caused by rising COVID-19 cases in many parts of the country, we should expect to see strong off premise growth rates in the next couple of weeks.

PREMIUMIZATION — a BIT MUDDIER and NUANCED

While consumers are continuing to ‘trade up’ to more expensive price tiers in the Off Premise, often referred to as Premiumization, the dynamics beyond this are muddier and more nuanced than in the more stable and straightforward pre-COVID days. Why is that?

Retail in-store promotions have declined, leading to increased ‘average’ selling prices for individual items

Every time a consumer purchases a product in a store instead of ordering that same drink on premise (given the COVID impacted shift from on to off premise), it actually represents trading down, not up

It’s likely that on-premise prices are also down, as operators tighten up their ranges to focus on the most popular selling brands, offer welcome back incentives to bring people back, and/or try to compete more effectively with off premise pricing especially with their ‘alcohol to go’ initiatives

Average bottle selling prices in the more ‘premium’ direct to consumer wine shipment channel are actually down from year ago levels

ON PREMISE

Based on Nielsen CGA surveys over the weekend of June 19-21 in Texas, Florida, New York, and California, of those who drank alcohol in the last 3 months:

36% have been in bars/restaurants primarily for an eating occasion in the last two weeks (vs 30% two weeks ago), and 11% have visited the on premise primarily for a drinking occasion (about the same as two weeks ago). Pre-COVID, those going out for a meal over a two week period was over 80%, so significant anxiety and concern about COVID-19 remains, while obviously at the same time significant upward potential

Looking ahead to the next two weeks, 38% said they were planning to visit the On Premise primarily for an eating occasion, and 16% for a drinking occasion, though very recent closures and/or pauses across several states may negatively impact those numbers

Of those who did go out to restaurants/bars, over 80% of consumers said that they were satisfied with the experience, vs 74% two weeks ago

70% of consumers claimed to have ordered takeout/delivery of food in the last two weeks (a new high), and 12% ordered a delivery that included alcohol.

BEER/FMB/CIDER

Beer/FMB/cider dollar sales in Nielsen measured off premise channels grew +21.2% in the most recent week vs year ago, just slightly above last week’s +20.3% gains. For COVID year-to-date, off premise beer/FMB/cider is 21.4% in dollars. Core beer (excluding FMBs, seltzers, and ciders) is up 13.1% for the latest 16 weeks compared to year ago.

Drivers of growth are consistent with previous weeks, with seltzers +234%, super premium +22.3%, FMBs +19.3%. The seltzer segment had its fifth consecutive week in dollar share >10% of the total category.

Craft also had a strong week, up 17.1%. The 5 biggest growth-driving brewers in craft were Blue Moon, New Belgium, Sierra Nevada, Firestone and Lagunitas — all accounting for 42% of craft beer dollar growth for the latest week.

WINE

Wine dollar sales in Nielsen measured off premise channels grew +23.7% in the most recent week vs year ago, up from +20.1% the last week. The increases were led by Table Wine price tiers $20+. Within table wine, Oregon again led percentage gains among major domestic producing states, while among imports, Italy, New Zealand, and Portugal led the way. It is likely not a coincidence that the last round of tariffs (now back in the news again given another upcoming round of reviews) did not impact any of these countries.

SPIRITS

Spirits in particular had a very strong week, up 39.5%, representing the strongest individual week’s growth since the week of Cinco de Mayo. Ready-to-drink cocktails and tequila were the leading off premise growth drivers, up 172% and 82% respectively. However, they weren’t the only categories fueling spirits off premise remarkable growth, as nearly every category in spirits grew 30% or higher for the latest week.

Digging a bit further…

While RTD’s of all package types have grown at huge levels, Cans have led the way with triple digit percentage gains in every weekly period since mid-March. That package format now represents almost ⅓ of the RTD Cocktail category in Nielsen measured off premise channels. And with a significant set of consumers concerned about “others” preparing their food or drinks there is likely an opportunity for pre-packaged ready to drink offerings in the on premise as well.

While Ultra Premium spirits lead in growth overall for the last 16 weeks in aggregate compared to other price tiers, that lead is not consistent across segments. In fact, Super Premium spirits (the next price tier down) are outperforming Ultra Premium in each of whiskey, rum, cognac, and brandy, while the Premium tier leads in vodka.

It’s noteworthy as well that consumer at home pantry levels for Spirits are above the amounts typically on hand pre-COVID for the ‘average’ consumer, and higher than the ‘on hand’ levels consumers reported for beer or wine vs pre-COVID levels.


beverage sales

SALES UPDATE FOR WEEK ENDING JUNE 13TH

Wine and Spirits Shippers Association Inc (WSSA) Blog

beverage salesThe MHW and Nielsen partnership are pleased to provide you with the latest weekly update for beer, wine, and spirits sales in Nielsen measured off premise channels along with our commentary.

Again, please note that this represents retail sales in certain key off premise trade channels – not ALL trade channels. While the on premise has re-opened to varying extents across the country, off premise volume growth still has to be very significant to offset the on premise losses. We’ll be watching these shifts carefully along with our on premise partners (Nielsen CGA).

As always, a reminder that this also represents a total category view – and we recognize that the impacts on individual companies within the alcohol industry are not equal.

TOTAL BEVERAGE ALCOHOL

Unless otherwise noted, all trends below are for Nielsen off premise channels for the week ending 6/13//20 compared to the same week in 2019. We continue to remind our readers that we are only measuring sales in some specific off premise channels, and that the impact of the health crisis on sales is uneven across companies in the Alcohol industry.

As the on premise continues to expand openings across the country and we move from RESTRICTED LIVING to RE-OPENING, trends for alcohol off premise sales have experienced a steady slowing of growth since early May. For the latest week ending June 13th, 2020, total alcohol sales in the off premise were up 21.2% compared to the same week last year. Spirits once again leads growth rates, up 25.1% (falling from +30.5% last week), followed by beer/FMB/cider up 20.3% (compared to +22.3% last week), and wine up 20.1% (reduced from +24.0% last week). This was the first week since the beginning of March that beer/FMB/cider, with the significant tailwinds of hard seltzer, actually grew faster than wine. All off premise alcohol categories continue to outpace total fast-moving consumer goods, which are back into double-digit growth rates, up 10.1% compared to last year.

All eyes will be on sales leading up to the upcoming July 4 holiday and long weekend, within a year unlike any other we’ve seen in our lifetime.

E-COMMERCE

During its peak in April, Beverage Alcohol e-commerce sales levels were 6x higher than comparable weeks of year ago, primarily driven by increases in buyers NEW to alcohol purchases made online. Those increases in June to date have now fallen to 3x higher than year ago, coinciding with a decrease in online alcohol buyers. Growth is still very impressive, but some consumers are likely returning to pre- COVID shopping patterns.

CONSUMER INSIGHTS

Throughout COVID weeks, an increase in the number of households purchasing alcohol has been one of the primary drivers of growth for off premise dollars. However, in recent weeks, the growth in the number of buyers is beginning to slow, up 14.7% for the 4 weeks ending 6/6/20 compared to those same 4 weeks last year. For a comparison, the number of buyers purchasing alcohol was up 16.2% for the 4 weeks ending 5/5/20 and up 20.5% for 4 weeks ending 4/11/20 compared to last year.

Which channels are driving growth with the increase in buyers for off premise alcohol? Throughout COVID weeks, liquor stores consistently have been driving much of the growth in buyers. The number of alcohol buyers in liquor stores is up 25.4% for the latest 4 weeks compared to last year. Grocery store alcohol buyers are up 14.2% compared to last year. Club buyers are also driving growth, up 17.2% compared to year ago.

We also have seen some recent and interesting trends in the growth of households purchasing items that correlate with celebrations, such as sparkling wine and higher-end wine and spirits. The timing of the spike in the number of households purchasing these celebration items also coincides with Mother’s Day and college graduations.

ON PREMISE

The green shoots of recovery continue to be evident in the on premise data, with increasing restaurant sales velocity coinciding with re-opening. Sales velocities in the week ending June 13, 2020 from Nielsen CGA RestaurantTrak on premise data (10,000+ transaction level POS feeds from a demographically balanced set of largely independently owned units) improved to -23% vs the pre-COVID norm (for those outlets still open), representing a +175% increase vs the week ending March 28 with significant variation depending upon re-opening dates across the country. The average check value nationally is also continuing its upward trajectory and is now only -8% lower than pre-COVID norms, and up from -50% at its lowest end.

Based on Nielsen CGA surveys over the weekend of June 5-7 in Texas, Florida, New York, and California, of those who drank alcohol in the last 3 months:

30% have been in bars/restaurants primarily for an eating occasion in the last two weeks, and 12% have visited the on premise primarily for a drinking occasion. Of those who have returned for a meal and/or a drink, they are considerably more likely to be young – 43% of 21-34 have been out to eat/22% to drink – compared to 29%/12% of those 35-54 and and 22%/4% of those 55+

Looking ahead to late June, more were planning to visit the On Premise; 35% plan to go out to bars and restaurants primarily for an eating occasion, and 19% for a drinking occasion–with the numbers higher in TX and FL, and lower in NY and CA

67% of consumers claimed to have ordered takeout/delivery of food in the last two weeks, and 14% a delivery that included alcohol.

BEER/FMB/CIDER

Beer/FMB/cider dollar sales in Nielsen measured off premise channels grew +20.3%% in the most recent week vs year ago.

Growth rates for nearly all beer/FMB/cider segments are slowing compared to earlier COVID-19 weeks, except for super premiums and FMBs, which have maintained somewhat steady growth rates, up 22.7% and 19.0% respectively for the latest week. Mich Ultra had another strong week, up 29.7% and was the #2 ranked growth brand in the category, after White Claw. Hard seltzer growth rates continue to hover around 250% and maintain share above 10%, accounting for 10.4% of total category dollars for the latest week.

WINE

Wine dollar sales in Nielsen measured off premise channels grew +20.1% in the most recent week vs year ago.

The top 100 wine brands – accounting for approximately ⅔ of Nielsen measured off premise channel dollar sales – has seen some change since the beginning of March. Over the 14 weeks through June 6, 2020, 4 brands entered the top 100 that were not there in the year prior – Castello del Poggio, Line 39, Rancho La Gloria, and Whitehaven. But in addition, several other brands – previously in the top 100 – moved up considerably higher within this top sales echelon. Brands that moved up 6 or more placements included (in alphabetical order): Bartenura, Bread & Butter, Cavit, Daily’s Cocktails, Decoy, Gerard Bertrand, Justin, Kim Crawford, Matua, Oliver, Risata, Stella Rosa (now in the top 10), Roscato, Starborough, and Whispering Angel. The brand diversity is remarkable – some non traditional wine types and packaging, strong NZ (Sauv Blancs), Italian, and California representation, an Indiana based winery, sweeter wines, and French rose’s.

Direct to Consumer Wine shipments for the month of May 2020 based upon Nielsen’s partnership with Wines Vines Analytics and Sovos ShipCompliant contained some other interesting insights.

While wines made in the three western states and especially California account for the majority of overall DtC shipments, the highest shipment growth rates (over +50%) were from “remaining” USA – states beyond the big three wine producing states (CA, OR, WA).

By winery size, the highest DtC shipment percentage growth rates were highly polarized, led by the largest wineries at one end (those over 500K cases annually) and the smallest ones at the other (limited production wineries under 1,000 cases annually), with growth for both segments over the last 3 months between +30% and +40% versus year ago. The latter group was much less likely though to make up for its on-site sales losses.

SPIRITS

Spirit sales in Nielsen measured off premise channels grew +25.1% versus year ago, the lowest level of growth since the week ending March 14, 2020, but still leading both wine and beer. However, there was also considerable variation among spirit segments. For instance, tequila’s hyper growth remained constant over the last two weeks and RTD’s are still ‘on fire’. On the other hand, while Whiskey growth was still double digits in the current week, its growth was over 10 percentage points less than last week’s growth.

With consistent and very strong growth rates in off premise spirits, we took a look at growth drivers for some of the categories leading growth, particularly tequila. Most of its off premise growth came from category expansion (meaning consumers added tequila to their alcohol set, rather than swapping it out for another segment). As consumers were preparing for initial shutdowns and then longer-term stay-at-home orders, they most likely were stocking their pantries with all types of spirits that they potentially wanted during the shutdown, particularly tequila, which was one of the leading growth segments pre-COVID, and also much more highly developed on premise compared to its off premise share.