Craft beer is continuing to prove the jewel in the crown in the US beer sector

Craft beer is continuing to prove the jewel in the crown in the US beer sector

The US beer sector saw a return to growth in 2012, driven by the continued rise of craft beer and premium products, a new report reveals. 

The category as a whole saw volumes increase last calendar year by 1.2% to 2.8bn 2.25-gallon cases, and sales rise by 3.5% to US$62.3bn, according to Technomic's BeerTAB report, which was published yesterday (1 October). Volumes of craft beer rose by 14.4% from 155.6m 2.25-gallon cases in 2011 to 178m cases in 2012.

Domestic light beer was 51.2% of the US market by volume in 2012, followed by “imported” beer with a 13.6% share. Craft beer has a 6.3% share.

Eric Schmidt, Technomic's director of research, said that the largest beer categories fared considerably better in 2012 than they did in 2011, although the industry's momentum really came from imported and craft beer, flavoured malt beverages and cider.

He added: "Mainstream domestic beer performance was buoyed somewhat by the continued growth of super-premium labels such as Blue Moon and the retro-hip brands including Pabst Blue Ribbon."

The report also suggests that the US cider category is benefitting from the involvement of big companies. “Anheuser-Busch InBev, MillerCoors and Boston Beer Co each staked claims in the cider category in 2012, contributing to its significant growth,” said Technomic.

“In 2013, the entry of Heineken USA as marketer of Strongbow, the introduction of Stella Artois Cidre by Anheuser-Busch InBev and debut of Mike's Hard Smashed Apple continues to fuel the category.”