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E-Commerce Challenges and Opportunities for Craft Beer and Spirits Producers

As the e-commerce channel grows for craft beer and spirits, producers need to work through legal and logistical challenges to successfully deliver products to consumers’ doorsteps.

As more consumers purchase alcohol online, craft beer and spirits producers need to ensure their packaging can withstand the rough handling of e-commerce distribution.
As more consumers purchase alcohol online, craft beer and spirits producers need to ensure their packaging can withstand the rough handling of e-commerce distribution.
PMMI Business Intelligence: 2024 Craft Beer and Spirits - Success Through Packaging

More customers are looking online for their next booze run, and craft beer and spirits producers are working to solve legal and logistical challenges to meet this e-commerce demand.

That’s according to PMMI Business Intelligence’s “2024 Craft Beer and Spirits: Success Through Packaging” report. E-commerce for beer and spirits rapidly grew in popularity during COVID, when online ordering for everything became normal practice. The change stuck though; post-pandemic, consumers have continued to buy craft beer and spirits through online storefronts.

The e-commerce channel is likely to continue growing in importance for craft beer and spirits producers.

By 2026, up to 25% of all beer and RTD alcohol sales may be made online, Crafted ERP cites from an ISWR prediction in its article, “Top 5 Craft Beer Trends to Shake Up Your Brewery.”

Legal and logistical challenges in craft beer and spirits e-commerce

E-commerce may be growing in popularity, but it’s not so easy for craft beer and spirits producers, primarily on the legal front.

Currently, only 11 states and the District of Columbia allow direct-to-consumer shipping of craft beer and spirits, according to the Crafted ERP article.

There are ways around these legal restrictions. While direct delivery is fairly limited, 31 states allow third-party services to deliver craft beer and spirits directly to consumers’ homes, the same Crafted ERP article says.

The e-commerce channel also brings extra packaging considerations for craft producers. The more frequent and rougher handling within e-commerce distribution means craft producers must be extra vigilant to ensure their existing formats will survive the perils of e-commerce delivery.

If breakage becomes an issue, craft producers will need to make immediate changes to their packaging; consumers will not tolerate broken products.

In a survey of 132 craft producers conducted for the PMMI Business Intelligence report, 26% of respondents noted they had to make packaging or operational changes to accommodate the e-commerce channel.

OEMs and suppliers have a role to play in this process. They can advise craft producers on what packaging formats are best suited for the e-commerce channel, and tweak or add equipment to accommodate packaging changes necessitated by e-commerce distribution.

SOURCE: PMMI Business Intelligence – 2024 Craft Beer and Spirits: Success Through Packaging

For more insights from PMMI’s Business Intelligence team, find reports including “2024 Trends in Remote Services and Monitoring” and “2023 Achieving Vertical Startups” at pmmi.org/business-intelligence.

Download the FREE report below.

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