73% of Craft Beer Drinkers Say the Pandemic has Increased Their Interest in DtC Beer, Yet Only 13 States Allow Interstate Direct Shipments

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Majority of Consumers and Brewers Want Beer Shipping Laws Updated, Finds Sovos ShipCompliant’s First-Ever Direct-to-Consumer Beer Shipping Report in Collaboration With the Brewers Association

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“Consumers got a taste for DtC beer shipments, and these attitudes and interests are here to stay,” said Larry Cormier, Sovos ShipCompliant.

Interest in direct-to-consumer (DtC) shipping of craft beer is strong and growing among regular craft beer drinkers, according to the new Direct-to-Consumer Beer Shipping Report released today by Sovos ShipCompliant and the Brewers Association. The report analyzes the results of both a consumer poll and a craft brewer survey conducted in the first quarter of 2021.

The Sovos ShipCompliant/Harris Poll consumer survey found an overwhelming majority (84%) of regular craft beer drinkers — defined as those who drink craft beer at least once per month — say they want to be able to legally purchase beer via direct-to-consumer shipping to their homes. This stands in contrast to the fact that interstate direct-to-consumer beer shipping is only legal in 13 states. Additionally, the survey found that more than 7 in 10 regular craft beer drinkers (73%) say the pandemic has increased their interest in purchasing craft beer via DtC shipping.

“It’s perhaps no surprise that craft beer drinkers’ interest in having their favorite beverages shipped to their doorsteps grew amid the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Larry Cormier, vice president and general manager, Sovos ShipCompliant. “Consumers got a taste for DtC beer shipments, and these attitudes and interests are here to stay. Brewers and regulators alike have a great opportunity to learn from the success of the $3.7 billion DtC wine shipping channel that has grown — compliantly — over the past 15 years.”

Other notable findings in the report centered on craft beer drinkers’ attitudes toward DtC shipping and associated regulations:

  • Four in five regular craft beer drinkers (80%) report they would be more likely to try new beer brands if they were able to purchase the beer via direct-to-consumer shipping to their homes.
  • Nearly three in five (57%) regular craft beer drinkers say they have purchased craft beer from a brewery and had it shipped directly to their homes via a third-party carrier.
  • Since COVID-19 pandemic restrictions began in March 2020, there was a slight uptick in the purchase of craft beer for DtC shipping. Nearly half of regular craft beer drinkers (48%) say they purchased craft beer directly from a brewery and had it shipped directly to their homes via a third-party carrier prior to the pandemic, and just over half (51%) say they did so since the pandemic began.
  • An overwhelming majority of regular craft beer drinkers (84%) say they want to be able to legally purchase beer via direct-to-consumer shipping to their home — a practice currently allowed for consumer purchases from most domestic brewers in just 13 U.S. states.
  • The same proportion (84%) say that current beer shipping laws in the U.S. should be updated to make it legal to ship beer direct-to-consumer in more states than the 13 U.S. states in which it is currently legal.
  • Beer lovers may be eager to receive DtC shipments of craft beer from markets outside their local areas, with more than three-quarters of regular craft beer drinkers (78%) saying they have tried a beer while traveling that they wish they could purchase, but it is not available near their home.

Brewer interest growing alongside consumer demand

Just 13% of craft brewers are engaged in direct-to-consumer shipping, according to the Brewers Association survey of 141 U.S. craft brewers in 38 states. Most still focus close to home, with 89% of breweries that do some DtC shipping (via common carrier) reporting that their home states are their primary markets. That said, some breweries are finding markets outside their own states, with 11% now saying they sell more volume DtC out-of-state than in-state.

Given the challenges and opportunities facing breweries, 70% said they would consider using direct-to-consumer shipping to go to market if it were legal in their states (or if it already is). This research further reveals the disconnect between consumer interest and availability of brewery-direct interstate shipments, which are only legal in 13 states.

“Craft brewers across the country are interested in the market access afforded by all types of direct-to-consumer sales, including DtC shipping,” said Bart Watson, chief economist, Brewers Association. “This is not only a pandemic-induced pivot but a response to the growing demand we see from beer lovers to access their favorite beverage — online and shipped to their homes — the same way they do countless other goods in today’s ecommerce era.”

To download the full Direct-to-Consumer Beer Shipping Report, visit dtcbeerreport.com.

Consumer Survey Methodology
This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Sovos ShipCompliant from January 11-13, 2021 among 1,869 U.S. adults ages 21 and older, among whom 568 drink craft beer at least once per month. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact Sovos ShipCompliant at helloship@sovos.com.

About Sovos
Sovos was built to solve the complexities of the digital transformation of tax, with complete, connected offerings for tax determination, continuous transaction control compliance, tax reporting and more. The company supports more than 12,000 customers, including half of the Fortune 500, operating in over 70 countries. Its SaaS products and proprietary Sovos S1 Platform integrate with a wide variety of business applications and government compliance processes. Sovos has employees throughout North America, Latin America and Europe, and is owned by Hg and TA Associates. For more information visit https://www.sovos.com and follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

About Sovos ShipCompliant
Sovos ShipCompliant has been the leader in automated alcohol beverage compliance tools for more than 15 years, providing a full suite of cloud-based solutions to wineries, breweries, distilleries, importers, distributors and retailers to ensure they meet all federal and state regulations for direct-to-consumer and three-tier distribution. ShipCompliant’s solutions reduce risk, lessen the burden of compliance, accelerate bringing products to market and enable revenue growth. With 60 partner integrations, Sovos ShipCompliant leads a robust ecosystem of technology partnerships, enabling powerful complementary solutions. For more information, visit https://www.sovos.com/shipcompliant/ and follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

About the Brewers Association
The Brewers Association (BA) is the not-for-profit trade association dedicated to small and independent American brewers, their beers and the community of brewing enthusiasts. The BA represents 5,300-plus U.S. breweries. The BA’s independent craft brewer seal is a widely adopted symbol that differentiates beers by small and independent craft brewers. For more information, visit BrewersAssociation.org.

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