In 2015, the overall soft drink industry experienced its 11th consecutive drop in sales from the year before, establishing a new record. Although the industry is valued at more than $77 billion, only 8.8 billion cases of soda were sold.
Although health conscious consumers are driving some of this trend, there is also a disruptor in the industry. Craft sodas have pushed the industry to be healthier in several different ways. These craft beverages included natural ingredients, offer no-fat beverages, and may contain no sugar.
There is no formal definition of a craft soda, so industry statistics may be generalized in some reports. Some classify products with cane sugar as a craft soda. Some classify a craft soda based on its bottling and flavor profile. What matters most is that they are an alternative to both the traditional soft drink and to alcoholic beverages.
Almost 60% of consumers say that a craft beverage allows them to enjoy a unique beverage without the need for alcohol.
Important Craft Soda Industry Statistics
#1. 72% of consumers say that the flavor and taste of their soda is the primary influencer on their preferred beverages, with just 21% saying that nutritional information or health profiles play a role in the decision-making process. (Mintel)
#2. 67% of adults in the U.S. say that they do not consume craft sodas on a regular basis, although over 40% of them say that they’d be interested in trying a product from the industry. (Mintel)
#3. 60% of U.S. adults agree with the idea that a craft soda product made with natural ingredients is a healthier choice than a standard soft drink which is made with artificial ingredients. (Mintel)
#4. 54% of Americans who do consume craft sodas say that having natural ingredients in the product is extremely important to them and their purchasing habits. (Mintel)
#5. 49% of people who consume craft sodas on a regular basis are interested in food pairings with their favorite soda flavors. (Mintel)
#6. In 2016, craft soda volumes in the United States grew by 5%, reaching 88.8 million gallons for the year. At the same time, the soft drink industry as a whole was down by 0.85%. (USA Today)
#7. Total sales for craft sales at the wholesale level reached $541 million in 2016. In 2011, the total value at wholesale was just $427.7 million. (USA Today)
#8. The craft soda industry is expected to grow at an average annual rate of 3.5% through 2025, which would help it to progress toward a total industry value of $732.4 million by 2025. (Grand View Research)
#9. Young adults account for over 64% of the sales within the craft soda industry each year. (Grand View Research)
#10. Parents and middle-aged adults contributed over $133 million to the industry’s revenues each year, making it the second-largest segment for craft sodas. (Grand View Research)
#11. Supermarkets and hypermarkets are the primary place craft sodas are sold in the United States. Convenience stores and specialty stores make up an important segment for the industry as well. (Grand View Research)
#12. About 25% of the sales experienced by the craft industry occur in Europe, though the fastest growing market for the industry is North America. (Grand View Research)
#13. Hard sodas, which contain alcohol, are sometimes grouped with the craft soda industry figures. U.S. sales of hard soda reached $146.9 million in 2016. (Statista)
#14. Over $85 million in retail sales for the hard soda segment of the industry was produced by supermarkets, with root beer being the most popular flavor purchased. (Statista)
#15. The leading hard soda product for the industry is called Not Your Father’s Root Beer Ale, with over $6.09 million in sales. (Statista)
#16. About 11% of consumers say that they purchased hard soda recently, but 45% of consumers say that they have neither purchased or consumed a hard soda product. (Statista)
Craft Soda Industry Trends and Analysis
Although the craft soda industry is steadily climbing to be a disruptive force for the traditional soft drink manufacturer, there are some within the industry that are struggling. In 2017, Reed’s reported a $2 million loss for their first quarter. In Q1 2016, the company reported a loss of $1.6 million.
Jones Soda, a popular craft soda choice for many consumers, lost $197,000 in Q1 2017 as well. In Q1 2016, they made $49,000 in profit.
The issue with the craft soda industry is one of pricing. When compared to the cost of a traditional soft drink, a craft beverage can be up to 3 times more expensive. Many craft sodas are sold in 4-packs as well, instead of the 6-pack or 12-pack packages that are provided by the traditional manufacturers.
To purchase a 4-pack of Jones Soda, you can expect to pay $1.50 to $2.00 for each bottle. That translates to around $8 per purchase, which is more than what some 24-packs of soda cost from traditional manufacturers.
There is a movement toward healthier foods and beverages. That includes a move toward healthier soft drinks. In time the growth potential for this industry may increase. If that happens, you will also find plenty of companies trying to take advantage of that trend.