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The Beer Ticker: Industry News & Notes, IPA Is Dead Edition

From retail woes to baby cans of grownup beer, here are some recent news and announcements from around the industry.

Brewing Industry Guide Staff Jan 19, 2023 - 8 min read

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Photo: Courtesy Westbound & Down

Bright Spots Are Few in Year-End Craft Retail Data

In the latest monthly data from IRI, the Chicago-based market research firm, there was not a lot for craft beer to celebrate in retail scans at the end of 2022. Looking at the total U.S. convenience stores and multi-outlets (which includes grocery stores), dollar sales in the IRI-defined “Craft” category were down 4.7 percent over the calendar year ending January 1, with volume down 8.6 percent. Among the top Craft styles, the only gains in dollar sales over that time were for variety packs (+5.7 percent) and wheat beer (+3.7 percent); the biggest drops were for ESB (-24.9 percent) and saison/farmhouse ales (-22.6 percent). Looking only at the last 12 weeks of the year, however, gainers included variety packs (+10 percent), wheat beer (+5.5 percent), and pilsner (+4.8 percent).

Retail Beer Prices Rose Faster than Inflation

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the consumer price index (CPI) for retail beer (“beer, ale, and other malt beverages at home”) was up 8.6 percent in December 2022 over the previous year; the index for beer away from home (i.e., in bars and restaurants) was up 6.1 percent over the previous year. The overall CPI, as a measure of inflation, was up 6.5 percent over the previous year.

Mallett Resigns from Bell’s

One of the most respected brewers in the industry has stepped down from his role at Bell’s Brewery. John Mallett, VP of Brewing and Quality at Bell’s—and at New Belgium, since the two companies joined in late 2021—plans to step down in late February, Bell’s announced. Mallett brewed and led brewers at Bell’s for 21 years; his previous roles included head brewer at Commonwealth Brewing in Boston and brewmaster at Old Dominion in Ashburn, Virginia. Along the way, he became one of the most respected minds in the industry and wrote the book on malt—Brewers Publications’ Malt: A Practical Guide from Field to Brewhouse, published in 2014. “John has dedicated decades to operations, quality, and safety at Bell’s and recently, across the broader organization,” New Belgium CEO Steve Fechheimer says in the announcement. “He has been an invaluable leader, teacher, friend, and coworker to all of us, and he will be greatly missed.”

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