Restaurant Sciences LLC, an independent firm that closely tracks food and beverage product sales throughout the foodservice industry in North America, today reported that the volume sales of on-premise craft beer decreased each of the last 3 months (September, October and November 2013), declining an average of 6 percent versus a year ago.
The decline was widespread as Restaurant Sciences recorded lower volumes for more than half of the 1,000 craft beer families (representing more than 5,700 craft beer brands) that the company tracks in on-premise establishments. Though new craft beers are introduced daily, the number of craft beers sold on-premise has decreased 19 percent versus a year ago. The declines in fall 2013 craft beer on-premise volume sales were felt at various establishments. Craft beer volume was down 13 percent at family dining establishments, 10 percent at white tablecloth restaurants, and four percent at casual dining restaurants, bars and nightclubs. More than 70 percent of the craft beer decline was in draft volume sales.
“The weakness in craft beer volume sales could be due to a number of factors. Consumers may be balking at price increases in the three to seven percent range this fall across restaurants, bars and nightclubs,” said Chuck Ellis, president and CEO of Restaurant Sciences LLC. “Additionally, restaurants and bars may have reached a saturation point in adding new beers to an already hyper-competitive shelf or tap set.”
Restaurant Sciences defines family dining as restaurants with average guest checks of less than $32. Casual dining guest checks range from $32-78, while upscale-casual average checks are from $78-$122.50. Restaurants in the white tablecloth category have average guest checks of more than $122.50. The study sample compared same store sales.