Flavored malt beverage (FMB) popularity has grown steadily during the past several years. The early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic did little to dampen FMB sales, which leapt 58.3% in c-stores from March 2020 to February 2021, compared with the year ago period. While much less robust, FMB sales in c-stores continued to climb from March 2021 to February 2022 at a rate of 6.1%, compared with only 1.5% in all other channels. Bar and restaurant closures in 2020 accounted for the surge in FMB convenience retail sales during the pandemic’s first year, but the positive growth continued in 2021.
As a refreshing alternative to beer, wine or liquor, FMB tends to sell best from June to August. FMB sales peaked at a high of nearly $350 million in monthly convenience sales in July 2021, before cooling off to just over $240 million in monthly sales in February 2022. While 20%+ year-over-year gains in monthly sales likely will be hard to come by for FMB in the near term, it is encouraging that monthly FMB sales in 2021 and early 2022 still outpaced most months in 2020.
While March and April 2021 FMB sales were much higher vs. 2020, fall and winter month 2021 FMB sales did not disappoint relative to the year prior. This suggests that shoppers who gravitated toward FMB purchases during the first year of the pandemic have continued to buy these products even as bars and restaurants reopened during 2021 and into 2022.
NACS State of the Industry Report
Published every year since 1972, the NACS State of the Industry Report is the convenience and fuel retailing industry’s premier benchmarking tool and the most comprehensive collection of data and trends. Retailers rely on the report to improve their operations and better understand what’s driving key performance metrics. Explore package options for purchase at www.convenience.org/SOI.