Many convenience stores sell beer, but some savvy retailers have made their stores destinations for cold beer sales, resulting in increased revenue. Growing beer sales at your convenience store can be accomplished in a variety of ways.
First, know what brands are most popular. According to IRI, for the 52 weeks ending Dec. 26, 2021, overall beer sales for the convenience store channel were just over $24 billion, a 2.0% increase over the previous year. Top brands were Bud Light with $3.1 billion in sales, a 6.3% drop; Modelo Especial with sales slightly over $2 billion, up 16.1%; Michelob Ultra with sales of $1.6 billion, an 8.3% increase; and Corona Extra at $1.3 billion in sales, a 9.4% increase.
At the same time, keep up with the latest trends, and branch into craft beers or even local beers if it fits the demands of your store’s demographic.
Second and third, get pricing right, and make sure your store makes swinging by to grab some beer convenient for customers.
“Having the right selection for your area and customers is the No. 1 factor in getting your customer’s attention,” said Oliver Herting, category manager and buyer for FastBreak Convenience Stores. “Grocery stores run lower margin on beer, especially when they are on promotion. Deep promotion on selected packages and items to be able to compete with grocery stores would be the deciding factor for a customer to grab beer at your store instead of going into the grocery store. Being able to offer the convenience factor of quick in and out on top of comparable prices can be the deciding factor for the customer. The biggest value we offer is convenience.”
Next, appreciate how consumers have come to love lite beers.
“Some of the top beer brands in the U.S. are Bud Light, Coors Light, Modelo Especial and Miller Lite as of 2021,” according to Khalid Peerbaccus, senior innovation researcher for beer and convenience stores for GlobalData.
The reason for the popularity of the light beers could be due to the lower calorie count. According to GlobalData’s Q2 2021 consumer survey, 39% of consumers in the U.S. said that they are trying to actively reduce their calorie consumption and a further 31% say they are consuming calories in moderation.
“The c-store channel remains the largest single channel for beer,” noted Brian Sudano, managing partner for Beverage Marketing Corporation in New York City. “The products that historically have done best are those that are accustomed to be purchased in a single-serve format such as FMB’s (flavored malt beverages). Hard Seltzer went mainstream with variety packs which skew more toward big box versus small format.”
Large package sizes also outperform in convenience, said Sudano. “You can purchase one can/bottle of 24-ounce-plus versus needing to purchase multiple packages. You can also fit more liquid on the shelf.”
Due to relative high price points in c-stores, premium beverages/beer perform better, he added.