February 2022 Trade news

Bud Light Next, the first zero-carb beer from Anheuser-Busch, goes on sale nationwide on February 7. Bud Light Next is the “next generation of light beer for the next generation of beer drinkers,” said Andy Goeler, vice president of marketing for Bud Light. The new beer, announced last summer, is aimed at younger legal drinking age consumers like Gen Zers who are looking for a similar nutritional makeup to hard seltzer along with the flavor of beer.

Heineken 0.0 is fresh off another strong year of double-digit growth, with a 30% increase in 2021, according to the brewer. Heineken 0.0 sold 2.5 mil cases in 2020 and is expecting the final 2021 numbers to be nearly 3.3 mil cases. In tracked off-prem data, it became 78th largest beer brand by $ overall, per 2021 national IRI multi-outlet + convenience data.  

2021 ended on a high note industry wide according to IRI. The week that ended December 26, 2021 reached the second highest bev alc sales week ever, just behind the Fourth of July, 2020. Total bev alc sales were up 1% vs. a year ago and up 12% vs. 2019 for the Christmas week, reaching about $1.66 billion. Breaking that down by IRI category measured channels: total wine sales were up 1.6% for the week compared to 2020; spirits sales were up 4.7%; while beer sales were flat dropping -0.6%.

Packaged product has taken on new importance during the pandemic for brewers, and cans have become the preferred packaged format for beer makers. However, this has also resulted in supply-chain issues. Last November, the Ball Corp., the world’s biggest manufacturer of aluminum beverage cans, sent a letter explaining a new 1 million minimum can order requirement starting in January 2022, for non-contracted customers. Due to various concerns, that deadline has been pushed back three more months. 

California’s wine industry lost more than $250 million in value last summer because of crushing supply chain disruptions at West Coast ports, a new economic report reveals. A study by UC Davis researchers issued late last year found overall state agricultural exports fell by $2.1 billion from May to September because of difficulties obtaining shipping containers. That’s about a 17% decrease and exceeded losses from the 2018 trade war with China. 

According to The IWSR, hard kombucha volumes in North America grew over +175% over 2020, with the drinks market analysis firm predicting the category will continue to expand +75% by 2025. The most recent example of that growth comes with the news that Flying Embers, a line of hard kombuchas and premium hard seltzers, has raised $20 million in a Series C funding round led by Beam Suntory.