Craft beer sales have seen an increase since stay-at-home orders began.
It's no secret that alcohol consumption has gone up during 2020. A combination of stay-at-home orders and a general opposition to reading the news while sober has seen people buying beer and wine at much higher rates than last year. After all, Netflix, wine, and crushing isolation pair together like tequila and diving fully clothed into your neighbor's pool. A recent study by NPR's Planet Money newsletter found some interesting trends that really highlight America's love of craft beer.
It seems like spending time under stay-at-home orders would make people into less discerning liquor store patrons. To a degree, that's easy to see: sales of 'subpremium' (an industry term for beers that are practically water) beer have increased pretty noticeably. Brands like Natty Light have seen as much as an 11 percent surge in sales from last year. It's worth noting that this is despite a lot of public events like college parties and music festivals shutting down.
What's more interesting is that this increase in sales is actually much smaller than booms enjoyed by other types of beer. Imported beer has seen consumption increase by 15 percent. Craft beer is up by a whopping 23 percent. Even hard seltzer, which is what people drink when they want to pay extra to not enjoy things, is up almost 250 percent in sales from last year—although its total volume is still catching up to more established types of booze.
It seems like, despite everything, people working from home are happy to spend some extra money to feel like they're actually drinking a beer instead of getting buzzed on the watery, hazy memory of wheat long passed.
That isn't to say that everything's peachy for craft brewers. Bar shutdowns have disproportionally impacted craft and local breweries, who average getting 40 percent of their income from draft beer. While it's a problem for everyone, cheaper beers aren't as affected. After all, when was the last time you saw someone getting PABST Blue Ribbon on tap?
Thankfully, alcohol take-out laws have allowed some bars and restaurants to keep the beer flowing. While it may be uncertain how these social distancing orders will affect breweries in the long term, it's clear that they'll always have people interesting in buying pumpkin IPAs and durian brews. In the meantime, consider supporting your local establishments by getting take-out from them.
Have you discovered any interesting craft brews this year? Sound off in the comments!