What Could Fuel the Drive for Expanded DtC Beer Shipping?

Lizzy Connolly | April 18, 2023

For craft beer lovers, expanded direct-to-consumer (DtC) beer shipping is at the top of their wish list, according to the third annual Direct to Consumer Beer Shipping Report. Released last month by Sovos ShipCompliant in partnership with the Brewers Association, the data showed that 88% of regular craft beer drinkers believe there should be greater legal access to DtC beer shipping. However, as of March 2023, just 11 states and Washington, D.C. allow it.

But what can actually be done to help make a change? And could beer really benefit from consumers having products shipped directly to their front doors the same way that wine does?

Even with inflation, the DtC desire is there

The beer world is hardly immune from economic turmoil, including the rising costs of inflation. As reported by Brewbound, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for beer both at home (+6.1%) and away from home (+5.5%) outpaced overall inflation (+5%) in March 2023 compared to March 2022, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, even with increased prices, the desire clearly exists for DtC beer shipping. Nearly three-quarters (72%) of regular craft beer drinkers would spend $50 or more per month if they could for craft beer to be shipped directly to their home, according to the Sovos ShipCompliant Direct-to-Consumer Beer Shipping Report. Additionally, 51% would spend $100 or more per month.

Our own Product Registration Online (PRO) new product registrations numbers also showed continued quarter-over-quarter growth for the beer/malt category in February 2023. The beer categories increased 4% year-over-year and had a 39% quarter-over-quarter increase.

Get the word out

The old saying “you get what you pay for” doesn’t need to have a negative connotation when it comes to purchasing beer DtC. In fact, an increasingly popular argument is that producers could rely on the sales of special releases to help ferment consumer spending.

In fact, “brands should also lean in on consumers looking for an opportunity to treat themselves and their loved ones by highlighting craft ingredients, decadent flavors, or limited-edition products,” according to an Insider Intelligence article.

Ecommerce alcohol is also forecast to outpace traditional alcohol retail sales, with 6.1% year-over-year growth, the article said.

Breweries could create beer subscription clubs, with the Sovos ShipCompliant/BA report finding that 71% of regular craft beer drinkers would be likely to sign up for such an option. Additionally, 86% would be likely to think more positively of a brewery that offers a DtC purchasing option.

Social media can also have a positive impact on DtC beer sales. Whether breweries are promoting new beers, subscription programs or weekly in-house entertainment, an increase in highlighting the brand can help get the word out to new potential customers. And in turn, consumers using social media could also help to promote breweries. The Sovos ShipCompliant/BA report found 72% of regular craft beer drinkers would be likely to post on social media about a brewery if it offered DtC shipping.

It’s difficult to predict how DtC beer shipping will continue to evolve, but it’s very clear that states are far from giving up on the fight to expand.

Take Action

Download the 2023 Direct-to-Consumer Beer Shipping Report for key takeaways and an analysis of the DtC beer channel.