Online Beer Market (USA)

Goals

To understand the regulations, demographics, business models of the online beer industry in the US to help with the planning and strategy for Four Corners Brewing Company.

Early Findings

Regulations

  • Owing to stringent federal and state regulations, only 0.2% of beer is sold online.
  • Laws regulation online sales of alcohol differ widely between states.
  • It is a challenge to just figure out the right licenses and laws for selling alcohol. In 2012, Instacart has tested online delivery of alcohol in the state of California but had to stop selling alcohol online for compliance reasons. In 2014, it started selling alcohol in a limited fashion in a few states but faced issues in the state of Washington.
  • State regulations restrict shipping of alcohol across state lines.

Online Retailers

  • The top online alcohol delivery players by market share:
  • Large-format-retail (LFR) grocery stores such as Walmart and Kroger have a 25% share of beer and spirit sales. As consumers are becoming comfortable ordering beer online, LFR grocery stores are enhancing their e-commerce capabilities.
  • Currently, groceries account for only 5% of online alcohol sales. Safeway, Harris Teeter, and Walmart are the only grocery chains among the top 10 e-commerce players (by online alcohol sales).

Market Size

  • According to Ibis World, the size of the US online alcoholic beverage market is $983 million.

Proposed next steps:

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