Craft Beer Gaining C-Store Shelf Space

Published in CSP Daily News

Suppliers taking notice as convenience channel making inroads beyond mainstream brews

NEW YORK -- With double-digit sales gains and an expanding consumer base, craft brews are popping up everywhere, including trade channels that previously focused on mainstream beers. Supermarkets, big-box chains and convenience stores are all devoting increased space and attention to the category, reported Shanken News Daily.

While not as developed as grocery stores, the convenience channel is making inroads with craft beer. For example, West Des Moines, Iowa-based Kum & Go LC, which operates more than 420 c-stores in 11 states, typically offers between 10 and 30 craft brews ($7.99 to $10.99 a six-pack), the report said.

Richard Ginther, the chain's category manager for packaged beverages, told the publication that craft beer has about an 8% share of Kum & Go's beer sales, and he expects it to grow at "strong double-digits" over the next half-decade.

Some craft beer suppliers view the convenience segment as particularly fertile ground for expansion, the report added.

"C-stores are hungry to partner with craft brewers. The shifting trends in beer haven't been good to c-stores," Sierra Nevada director of sales and marketing Joe Whitney told Shanken News Daily, noting that the grocery and convenience channels have posted the biggest gains in craft beer sales over the last five years.

Click here to view the full Shanken News Daily report.