More Brewers of All Sizes Doing Direct Delivery

Dear Client:

From Coast to Coast, craft brewers of all kinds are employing creative means to stay afloat as direct sales at brewpubs and through the on premise have been severed due to COVID measures. 

For example, they’re certainly not the smallest of craft brewers, but A-B owned Goose Island has apparently dispatched a sort of ice cream truck-type beer delivery van. 

“WANT BEER RIGHT NOW? CALL 312-359-9871” says a black van emblazoned with a Goose Island logo. It “roam[s] the streets of Chicago Thursday through Sunday, playing ice cream truck music,” Eater Chicago reports. “If customers call the phone number displayed on the van, the van will deliver beer to them.” 

…or something like that. As we understand it, you have to actually order online to get the beer delivered, according to this lengthy Reddit thread that covers the van.  

THREES LAUNCHES DELIVERY SERVICE. But while the aforementioned ice cream delivery truck seems more a marketing tool for a craft brewer owned by a global one with deep pockets, other brewers say delivery is a matter of survival.

For example, Brooklyn-based Threes Brewing has launched a new online store allowing local New York customers to order everything from Threes beer, to sundries like wine and coffee and even “special beers from fellow breweries,” the brewer told CBD, since the state relaxed liquor delivery laws in the current COVID-disrupted times. 

The brewery “was able to work quickly to launch a delivery service of their own, as many other breweries have in recent weeks. By not relying on third party services like Drizly or Caviar, these breweries are able to employ as many of their own team members as possible throughout the process as everything from order packers to drivers, which is huge for small businesses,” per a spokesperson.  


Yesterday the Brewers Association announced it would lay off almost a quarter of its staff and take other measures to ensure its future operation. 

“Last week, in order to maintain the long-term viability of the Brewers Association, we made the difficult decision to lay off 23% of our staff,” it said. “We continue to work with all affected individuals, to the greatest extent that we’re able, to help them navigate this transition. We have also enacted tiered salary reductions for our management team. These steps are in addition to the operational budget cuts made earlier this month.” 

As CBD readers may recall, the BA was forced to cancel marquee events like the Craft Brewers Conference (which brings in something like 14,000 attendees) and Savor last month, and issue refunds. That had to hurt. 

“The Brewers Association’s fortune mirrors that of our craft beer community,” the BA said.  “Like many of you, our members, we will be forever changed by the pandemic and economic crisis facing our organization.”


Craft players with less exposure to draft have naturally gained more share in the COVID era of off-premise pantry loading, while the on premise remains shuttered. 

That’s logical, but NBWA chief economist Lester Jones showed exactly how share gains among top craft has played out before and after the max pantry-loading era, week 12, in Fintech data. (Note, Fintech data covers STR data from thousands of accounts of all kinds, aggregated through the 15th week of 2020 so far. It’s a snapshot of roughly 30% of the total beer market.) 

Of top craft, Lester wondered: “What is their share of draft in the marketplace to start with? Once that [channel] went away, what was their opportunity from a capacity standpoint to fill the pipeline with beer” for the pantry rush? Naturally that was tougher for brewers who had a quarter or more of their share in draft. 

Lester demonstrated that Blue Moon, for example, has 41% draft share. Their “pre rush” share (before week 12) was 12.1%, but their share post rush was down 1.3%, to 10.7%. 

Lagunitas, which has 35% draft share, lost 0.7 share from the pre-rush to post-rush period. And Goose, which Fintech has pegged at 39% draft share, is basically flat. 

Meanwhile, Founders and Leinenkugel, which are much more off premise oriented — they’re at 14% and 10% draft share, respectively — each gained almost 2 share points from the pre-COVID rush period to post COVID rush period (again, from before week 12 to after). 

But Bells is an outlier. Despite having 29% draft share in this data set, it’s still up 1.6 share over this period. 

Until tomorrow,

Jenn, Jordan, and Harry 

“We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful what we pretend to be.” – Kurt Vonnegut

———- Sell Day Calendar ———-

Today’s Sell Day: 20

Sell days this month: 22

Sell days this month last year: 22

This month ends on a: Thurs.

This month last year ended on a: Tues.

YTD sell days Over/Under:  +1