Today, the National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) released the Beer Purchasers’ Index (BPI) for March 2019.The index surveys beer distributors’ purchases across different segments and compares them to previous years. A reading greater than 50 indicates the segment is expanding, while a reading below 50 indicates the segment is contracting.The March 2019 Beer Purchasers' Index at 53.8 for total beer rose well above the March 2018 index of 48.8. In each month of 2019, the BPI has beaten last year's reading for the same time period. Looking across the segments:
- The index for imports continues to indicate expanding volumes with a March index at 62.5. This is a slightly lower reading from the March 2018 index of 65.1.
- The craft index at 54.6 is above last year’s reading of 45.9. This index indicates a continued and slight expansion in volume of craft beer orders reflective of current trends at retail.
- Premium lights, premium regulars and below premiums all posted slightly lower readings for March relative to last year. All three segments continue to struggle with below 50 index readings.
- The flavored malt beverage/progressive adult beverage (FMB/PAB) segment continues to break the upper boundaries with an index of 78.2, significantly above the 60.5 reading from March 2018. The March reading marks another record-breaking index for the category.
- The cider segment took a breather from prior month expansion mode trends with a March 2019 reading of 48.4. This is still well above the 36.4 index from March 2018.
- The “At Risk” inventory measures for total beer at 57.3 is a few points higher than March of last year. It is a slightly higher reading from both January and February 2019 readings.
The March 2019 BPI survey is running from April 8 through April 18. Results will be released to participating distributors on April 19.