US craft beer slowdown hints at weakness - figures

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A US tracking firm has questioned the sustainability of craft beer in the country, after on-trade share growth in recent weeks slowed, despite a steady rise in the number of new products in the segment.

Craft beer gained share but at a slower rate

Craft beer gained share but at a slower rate

In the four weeks to 25 January, craft beer share of the on-premise beer category rose by 0.9%, according to new figures from Guestmetrics. The share for the same period last year grew by 1.9%, indicating “a clear slowdown”, the company said.

Meanwhile, the number of new craft offerings continued to “grow strong, raising issues about the sustainability of this growth”, Guestmetrics said.

While craft beer's share growth slowed, craft spirits share accelerated, up 2.4% compared to 1.9% for FY2014. Domestic craft now holds a 6.6% share of the on-trade spirits segment, according to Guestmetrics.

Overall, alcohol beverage volumes increased by 1.5% in the four-week period compared to a 1.8% drop for full-year 2014. Spirits posted 3.1% volumes growth compared to a 0.3% drop last calendar year, while wine and beer were up 0.9% and 0.3%, respectively. In FY2014, wine volumes fell 0.8% and beer dropped by 3.4%.

Guestmetrics said the four-week period was “the single best month we have seen in years” for food and beverage in the on-trade.

Earlier this week, Anheuser-Busch InBev declined to comment on reports that it had approached US craft brewer Cigar City Brewing about a possible takeover.

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