Press Release

NBWA Releases Beer Purchasers’ Index for January 2021

Media contact: Erin Donar | | 703-229-3702

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Today, the National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) released the Beer Purchasers’ Index (BPI) for January 2021. After a dramatic year in 2020, the BPI for January continues to show signs of returning to normal.

The total BPI for January 2021 is at 66.4, about where it was in January 2020 and before the pandemic at 65.7.

The “at-risk inventory” (inventory at risk of going out of code in the next 30 days) measure rose to 37.9 from 25.9 in December 2020, the largest single-month increase since June 2020.

NBWA Chief Economist Lester Jones explained, “A slower than expected December and healthy end-of-year shipments from suppliers significantly changed the industry’s inventory picture.”

BPI is the only forward-looking indicator for distributors to measure expected beer demand. 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.

Looking across the segments for January:

  • The index for imports remains in expansion territory with a reading of 59 in January 2021. However, it is still below the 64 reading from January 2020.
  • The craft index dropped to 43 in January 2021. This marks the second monthly reading below the critical 50 benchmark and two points below the January 2020 reading of 45.
  • Premium lights continue to post significantly higher readings at 59, relative to 38 in January 2020. This is the ninth consecutive month of above 50 readings for this segment.
  • The index for premium regular finally declined below the 50 benchmark to 48, compared to 27 in January 2020. This also breaks the segment’s eight month streak above 50 expansionary index readings.
  • Below premium beers also continue their rapid decline into the new year, sitting at 45 for January 2021. This series has declined each month after peaking at 70 in May 2020.
  • The FMB/seltzer segment continues to outperform all other segments, posting an index of 90 in January 2021, compared to 91 in January 2020.
  • The cider segment posted a reading of 35 in January 2021, well below last January’s reading of 42.

The National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) represents America’s 3,000 independent beer distributors who service every state, congressional district and media market across the country. Licensed at the federal and state levels, beer distributors get bottles, cans, cases and kegs from a brewer or importer to stores, restaurants and other licensed retail accounts through a transparent and accountable regulatory system. Distributors build brands of all sizes – from familiar domestic beers to new startup labels and imports from around the world – and generate enormous consumer choice while supporting more than 140,000 quality jobs in their home communities. Beer distributors work locally to keep communities safe by sponsoring programs to promote responsible consumption, combat drunk driving and reduce underage drinking.