New Releases Still Drive Consumers

Lots of breweries have seen an uptick in package sales because of the lack of ability to pour a draft beer and serve it over a bar recently. Although some larger and more veteran breweries have pointed out that established brands have seen sales increases, many breweries still see sale surges because of new beer releases. That, despite the inability to have the older model of lining consumers up before opening the doors on a Saturday morning.

Jester King is on pace to average 2.3 new beers a week.

“New releases are a huge part of our strategy and business model,” said founder Jeffrey Stuffings. “We’ve been focusing heavily on new releases. Our older brands still have legs and sell out, but the consumer interest we see is pretty heavily focused on what’s new.”

Curbside pickup of the Austin, Texas brewery’s beer has exceeded Stuffings’ expectations.

“It’s a valuable source of beer sales during this time,” he said. “Unfortunately, shipping and delivery in Texas is illegal, but we have found good third-party partners in Tavour, Fair Isle Brewing, and Hop Drop.”

Kathryn Preissinger of Tavour recently sent out a list of new releases to Brewer and said that a majority of beers sold out within a day of putting them on the app, and a few of them sold out within just a few hours.

“In general, we have noticed a big trend of people adding more smoothie-type crafts and Sours increasing in sales a lot this summer,” she said. “They are currently our biggest sellers and [we] are excited to offer even more new exciting summer beers.”

Divine Barrel in Charlotte told Brewer that consumers have been excited about new sour releases, but an old favorite like Ice Cream Paint Job hung right in there with the new beers.

“Our Carolina Cobbler series has been crushing it for us,” said managing partner Gavin Toth. “We’ve been getting hit up by people in different states looking for our beer now.”

The brewery is getting known for its West Coast IPAs as well.

“We like to make sure we keep our favorite, Lead Filled Snowshoe, around, so we’re repeating that a good bit,” Toth said.

Divine Barrel had already started a small bit of self-distribution in its hometown of Charlotte, but Toth said the brewery had pivoted quickly to sell more into bottle shops and grocery stores during Phase 1 of COVID-19.

“Before COVID-19 we had signed on with Lowes Foods and Whole Food in North Carolina, so that has been a big help to spread our beer out across multiple markets,” Toth said. “We have also been extremely lucky that we have accounts across the state that are willing to come pick up our beer.”

The brewery started an online shop about a week into the shutdown, and that has been super helpful for pre-orders, shipping, and at home delivery.

“During Phase 1 the online shop “ding” was going off constantly, because no one wanted to leave home,” Toth said. “Now that our taproom has reopened, we don’t hear the “ding” as often, but it has definitely been a saving grace during this time.”

Coming Friday: Canning increases to keep sales up with lack of draft sales.

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