What can C-store operators and suppliers do to boost beer sales?
Pairing beer with foodservice items in promotions and offers may promote beer sales.

The beer category boomed in 2020, with a large positive shift at the start of the pandemic. However, more recently beer sales are down versus a year ago, as are trips. Immediate questions rise to the surface:

  1. Have beer sales returned to their pre-pandemic levels?
  2. Should we expect to lose additional ground as 2021 unfolds?

Closer examination of trends suggests that it’s quite the contrary. Much like overall store trends, a steady climb in trips coupled with still record-high spend per trip indicates promising results for the foreseeable future.

It’s true that in April, compared to 2020, beer trips in C-stores were down 5.1%, and dollar sales were similarly lower. However, what’s even more telling is the fact that YTD, month-after-month beer trips have been increasing steadily by nearly 5% every month since the start of 2021.

This rise in trips shows no signs of a slowdown. Even more promising is the fact that spend on beer per trip isn’t returning to a pre-pandemic level either. Shoppers have adopted some new behaviors that seem to be here to stay. If both trends persist, continued strong performance for the beer category in C-stores is expected.

Both C-store operators and suppliers can benefit from these trends. As the summer months arrive, consider pairing beer with foodservice items in your promotions and offers. Additional market openings combined with an uptick in summer travel and outdoor activity are natural demand generators. You can take it a step further by pairing beer with summer-focused general merchandise (such as sunscreen or beach items). By offering unique themed pairings, you can drive increased activity and growth throughout your stores and brands.

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