Of the more than 100 beer styles defined by the Boulder, Colo.-based Brewer’s Association (BA), seasonal craft beers tend to be the most popular, according to analysts. These rotating special-edition beers account for most of the overall craft beer sales, making up 18.5 percent of craft beer dollar sales in the 52 weeks ending Sept. 14, according to Andrea Riberi, senior vice president of alcohol beverages at New York-based Nielsen. “They’ve driven so much growth, and they’ve grown 24.3 percent,” she says.
Sales of seasonal craft beers totaled more than $294 million in the 52 weeks ending Oct. 6 in U.S. supermarkets, drug stores, mass merchandisers, gas and convenience stores, military commissaries, and select club and dollar retail chains, according to Chicago-based Information Resources Inc. (IRI). Plus, three seasonal portfolios from Boston-based The Boston Beer Co.’s Samuel Adams brand; Chico, Calif.-based Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.’s Sierra Nevada brand; and Galesburg, Mich.-based Bell’s Brewing Inc.’s Bell’s brand ranked among the Top 15 craft brands for the year ending July 14 based on dollar sales in U.S. supermarkets, according to Dan Wandel, principal of beverage alcohol client insights at IRI.