Some 50 SKUs have been slashed from Waitrose’s range over recent weeks

Waitrose has significantly slashed its beer and cider range to make way for a slew of new craft beers.

Research by The Grocer with Assosia data shows the upmarket retailer has slashed 50 SKUs from its range over recent weeks [15 w/e 6 September 2022].

These included all SKUs of BrewDog’s Planet Pale Ale, Camden Town’s Unfussy Lager 330ml, Siren Lumina Session IPA 330ml, as well as many larger multipacks such as Staropramen 12 x 330ml, Tiny Rebel Mixed Packs 12 x 330ml, and Birra Moretti 18 x 330ml.

A Waitrose spokesperson told The Grocer it had “an extensive range of beers, wines and spirits to suit every occasion” and was seeing strong sales of super premium lagers, with good multipack sales”.

It added customers could “look forward to lots of exciting new craft products launching very soon”.

Despite consolidation in supermarket ranges, craft beer sales held up throughout the pandemic, 2021 and early 2022, while the wider beer and cider category lost value thanks to the reopening of the on-trade. 

Multipack sales were one of the key drivers of this: sales of packs of six or more units were up by just under a third (30%) over the year to 29 January 2022, and, as of that time, accounted for 29.7% of sales in the craft category [Nielsen IQ].

The sector has seen some high profile closures and sell-offs over the last year, such as Carlsberg’s disposal of London Fields and Lion’s sale of Fourpure and Magic Rock.

However, Fourpure and Magic Rock were last month snapped up by Odyssey Inns, a new venture led by industry veteran Stephen Cox, who said the deal offered “an incredible opportunity” to “take two exceptional brands, Fourpure and Magic Rock, to the next level”.

Last week, in a further show of faith in craft, megabrewer Heineken announced it had fully acquired Beavertown Brewery, after acquiring an initial 49% stake in 2018.