There is no doubt that 2020’s COVID-19 Pandemic changed how companies interact with consumers, and that shift had a huge impact on American Craft Beer. According to Nielson, overall off-premise craft beer sales grew over 14% in 2020, compared to just 0.6% for the previous 12 months! And much of that increase represents online sales.
In fact, a survey conducted by online retailer Tavour in March of this year found that breweries had moved an average of 25% of their business to online channels. The app-based platform has helped enable this shift — more than 125 began sharing their beer through the app-based platform for the first time in 2020, joining 600+ breweries who already utilized the service.
In order to better serve the nation’s beer aficionados and provide insights on upcoming industry trends, Tavour closely examines their inventory data each month. Based on these findings, here are the top trends of April 2021:
- Fruited Beers: Beers made with fruit dominated Tavour’s best selling beers list, with breweries using a variety of fruits to flavor beers in a number of styles.
- Top Selling Breweries: Drekker Brewing remained a favorite among consumers, with some surprising newcomers rounding out the list.
- Beer E-commerce Continues to Grow: 7 new breweries began sharing beer through Tavour in April
Fruited Styles Remain Popular
Adding fruit to beer is nothing new. While modern interpretations began in Belgium about 100 years ago, archeological evidence indicates that the Ancient Egyptians added pomegranates and dates to their beer, and they weren’t the first to do so. Fruited beers did find a place in American craft beer early on, but they were relatively rare until just the past few years.
Fruited styles accounted for 22% of all beers shared on Tavour in April, compared to 24% 6 months prior in October of 2020. While that does represent a slight decrease, Tavour anticipates a jump in fruited styles in the coming months as we move into summer. It seems that fruity beers won’t be disappearing from the American craft landscape any time soon.
Here is a breakdown of the top selling beers in April:
For comparison, here is a breakdown of the top selling beers from February and March:
In these charts, ‘Other Unfruited Styles’ include Barleywines, Wheatwines, Unfruited Sour Ales, Cream Ales, and Saisons. ‘Fruited Beers’ include Fruited Sours, Fruited Berliner Weisse-style beers, Fruited Wild Ales, and Stouts using fruit as an adjunct.
While other categories have fluctuated, fruited beers across a variety of styles have remained incredibly consistent with their strong performance.
Top Selling Breweries
Unsurprisingly given the previous data, breweries that specialize in fruited styles have continued to dominate the top-sellers list.
In March, three of the top five best selling brews came from Drekker Brewing, and that trend has continued into April with the North Dakota brewery claiming two of the top five spots:
- Braaaaaaaains Raspberry, Mango Fruited Sour - Drekker Brewing
- Even More Even More Hydra Fruited Sour - Evil Twin Brewing NYC
- PB&J Tawny Port Medianoche Imperial Stout - WeldWerks Brewing
- Braaaaaains Strawberry/Orange/Lime Fruited Sour - Drekker Brewing10
- All That I Have Learned [Maple Whiskey Barrel Aged] (Ghost 987) - Adroit Theory Brewing
Anchorage Brewing Company is notably absent from this list, after taking the top spot the past two months running. However, next time they release one of their highly sought-after oak-aged Imperial Stouts, they will likely reclaim the best sellers rank.
Other notable newcomers to the best sellers list in April included Chicago’s Hop Butcher for the World with their Blazed Orange Imperial Milkshake IPA, and New York’s famed Other Half Brewing for their Drained Imperial IPA.
Another Chicago area standout, Revolution Brewing, also cracked the top 20 best selling beers with their first ever sharing through Tavour — Deth by Cherries Barrel Aged Stout [sic].
Craft Beer E-commerce Continues to Grow
Even as Covid-19 quarantine measures wind down across the country and taprooms re-open, craft breweries continue to look for ways to retail their products online. While a return to draft beer sales is certainly a boon for breweries, they also recognize the value of reaching customers outside of their distribution area.
Seven shared beer through Tavour for the first time in April:
SpindleTap Brewery - Houston, TX
Tripping Animals Brewing Company - Doral, FL
Revolution Brewing - Chicago, IL
Corporate Ladder Brewing Company - Palmetto, FL
Brick and Feather Brewery - Turners Falls, MA
Meier’s Creek Brewing Company - Cazenovia, NY
Old Irving Brewing Company - Chicago, IL
What Will We See in May?
The data for April suggests a number of trends that could continue into May and even through the summer:
- Fruited styles will likely continue to grow, as more consumers discover them and more breweries produce them.
- Stouts will likely decline somewhat as lighter, more summery brews enjoy a seasonal boost.
- Craft beer e-commerce may continue to expand, allowing consumers to access offerings from craft breweries not traditionally available in their area.
- Craft Seltzers began to appear in the marketplace last summer, and could well return even stronger.
Even as Covid-19 shutdowns wane and on-premise beer consumption returns, it’s unlikely that consumers will want to completely abandon the convenience and dizzying variety of options that online ordering affords them. Tavour will continue connecting craft beer fans with limited releases and other hard-to-find beers from around the nation.