Premium beer in North America – forecasts to 2016

Published: September 2012


Product ref: 149232

Pages: 26

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Report description

All of the top four brewers have faced challenging sales environments internationally since the downturn of 2008 and have been forced to adapt and innovate to survive.

Each has spread out into new markets, buying up budding local breweries, licensing out their flagship brands to contract brewers and moving quickly to establish a presence through prominent marketing and sponsorship ties. Diversifying their product ranges has also proved to be an important tactic, with manufacturers seeking to satisfy local tastes and coax regular customers of their mainstream beer brands towards the premium bracket.

This second report in our series on premium beer concentrates on North America, currently the second largest premium beer market in the world and how this market specifically has faired.

Both United States and Canada have been forced to respond to a changing economic enviroment, according to a SABMiller Executive: “No business or industry should expect a return to the previous status quo of yesteryear but we do believe that the US beer market will return to growth.”

The report examines how the major players and smaller brewers have reacted to the challenges and changing trends. Highlighted is one of the most exciting and innovative offshoots of the industry since its emergence in the mid- to late-1980s, that of craft brewing.

Craft beers differentiate themselves by offering strongly defined identities and local provenance, their brewers standing for individuality and a sincere commitment to the production of exceptional lagers and ales.

Tired of a retail landscape populated by ubiquitous, mass produced, medium quality lagers manufactured from the most cost-effective ingredients by a small number of dominant corporations, North American drinkers have welcomed the alternative output of regional microbreweries with open arms.

As one executive with Boston Beer told us, "We’re lucky to be in the middle of a big growth curve for craft beer and I’m glad to see the industry growing. Craft beer is entering the mainstream."

The report concludes with a view on the future outlook for the premium beer market with reference to:

- new domestic specialty and ‘faux craft’ brands
- appealing to female drinkers
- fruit-based lagers and ales
- effects of social media
- innovation in emerging markets
- medical evidence against alcohol

Table of contents

Categorisation notes
What is premium beer?

Chapter 1 Introduction
Global beer market
Premium beer in the United States
The rise of craft brewing
Premium beer in Canada

Chapter 2 United States
Market overview
Leading companies
Anheuser-Busch InBev
Other US brewers

Chapter 3 Canada
Market overview
Leading companies
Labatt Brewing Company
Molson Coors
Sleeman Breweries
Other Canadian brewers

Chapter 4 Craft brewing
The Boston Beer Company
Sierra Nevada Brewing Company
New Belgium Brewing Company
The Craft Brew Alliance
The Gambrinus Company
Craft brewing in Canada

Chapter 5 Future outlook
Premium beer in North America to 2016
Future prospects for the major brands
Future prospects for the craft sector

List of tables
Table 1: Premium beer market sales by region and world total, 2010-2016 (m kl)
Table 2: Leading beer companies in the world, 2011 revenues and production volumes
Table 3: US total beer and premium beer production, 2010-2016 (m kl)
Table 4: Top ten beer brands in United States, 2010 (% market share)
Table 5: Canada total beer and premium beer production, 2010-2016 (m kl)
Table 6: Leading premium beer brands in Canada 2011 (% market share)
Table 7: Leading craft beer companies and brands in the US, 2011 sales (‘000 kl)
Table 8: US and Canadian total beer and premium beer production, 2010-2016 (m kl)
Table 9: Total beer production in developing markets 2006-2016 (m kl)

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Related research categories

By sector: Beer (in Beer & Cider)

By market: North America