To sell more beer c-stores need to begin by knowing what their consumers are and aren’t looking for — which means keeping up with trends.
In the wake of a red-letter year in COVID-ravaged 2020, beer sales dropped in 2021 as consumers returned to more or less normal life. In 2022, the same old brands may not fare as well as they traditionally have.
Rich Abel, director of stores for Jaco Oil/Fastrip Food Stores, which operates 54 convenience stores throughout California and Arizona, said that he expects specialty beers will continue to grow, as will budget brands. Meanwhile he predicts traditional domestic beers to face challenges. Overall, he is projecting sales down between 3-5%.
What will do best in 2022? “Super-premium and budget,” Abel suggested, with 12-packs being shoppers’ most popular package size. The best-selling price points will be $8.99 to $9.99, he added. “For super-premium, price is not the driver,” he said. Fastrip’s management, he pointed out, is building more beer caves.
All told, Abel has found the beer-drinking consumer is drinking less beer, and in smaller packages. To sell more, he added, convenience store retailers should:
- “Try to stay current with trends, and update schematics more often.”
- “Cut back on (traditional domestic) facings and expand selection.”
Brian Sudano, managing partner for New York City-based Beverage Marketing Corp., said he expects flavored malt beverages to lead the category, followed by Mexican imports and craft, while domestic declines accelerate.
“Multipack cans have accelerated, as more at home consumption has taken place,” Sudano suggested. “Known brands had a surge, but recently pre-COVID trends are returning.”
Convenience stores can look for their shoppers to reach most for what Sudano called easy-to-drink, non-traditional beers. He agreed with Abel that 12-packs will lead the way overall, followed by large cans in the convenience channel. “$14.99 for 12-packs and above will drive growth.”
At the same time, consumers who have bonded with lite beers like Bud Light, Coors Light, Modelo Especial and Miller Lite show no signs of stopping.