Booze has been getting costlier around town, and now that trend seems poised to continue.
In the last year alone, major beverages companies have raised their prices on popular brands of beers, wine and spirits. One of the biggest spikes came from Craft Brew Alliance, which boosted beer prices by 4.7 percent last week, according to Beer Business Daily. But that might not be all. Anheuser-Busch, which owns Budweiser, has hiked prices on average by 7.3 percent nationwide. Bud Light, Budweiser, Bud Ice and Budweiser Light Platinum and Budweiser Select White, were among the most expensive beers in town.
This means restaurants might need to pass the costs on to customers.
During a call with analysts last week, CEO Shaun Mara pointed to stiff competition from smaller players as one of the reasons for the price hike. “I wouldn’t say it’s a surprise at all,” he said.
If things continue to go the same way, we could see boutique craft breweries struggle to pay their bills. Specialty wine and spirits, such as whiskey and brandy, have the least shelf space.
“We try to be reasonable about how the craft beer story is framed,” said Martin Bonham, chief financial officer of Lagunitas, which sold eight beers for an average of $9.74 each at Harris Teeter, the country’s largest supermarket chain. “If you take a look at when craft beer first started, the basis of craft beer was generally lower price points. When it goes up, it will tend to push some of the more niche beer brands up and that’s when we’ll see some challenges.”
Here is how 16 of Washington’s neighborhood “upscale” supermarkets would fare under the new era of craft beer prices.