In comparison, the number of food processing establishments remained stagnant during the same period.
The overall US beverage industry registered a 2.3% increase in total value of shipments over a recent two-year period, compared to food which saw a 7% increase in total shipments, according to PMMI.
“Beer consumption in the US in terms of hectolitres is starting to come down; however, the amount of money spent on beer is rising,” Jorge Izquierdo, vice president of global marketing at PMMI, told BeverageDaily at ProFood Tech in Chicago.
This converse relationship between the rate of consumption and spending can be attributed to consumers willing to spend more on a product that is perceived as higher quality, according to Izquierdo, an attribute the craft beer industry has benefited from in recent years.
“Rather than drinking more, it’s about drinking better,” Izquierdo said. “They are willing to invest more on themselves and it’s a luxury almost anyone can afford.”
Machinery purchases decline, leasing grows
Beverage is the only industry in which capital expenditure on machinery decreased, reporting a 4% decline, PMMI also found. However, leased machinery during the same timeframe increased 28.9%.
Izquierdo attributes part of this decline in machinery purchases to the time frame of when beverage manufacturers like breweries buy their equipment.
“It’s a matter of the cycle of when the industry invests in this kind of equipment,” he said.
In addition, craft brewers seek affordable flexible equipment that can respond to changes in the processing line quickly and easily, which is driving the growth for robotic automation among beverage manufacturers and makes leasing a more financially attractive option for craft brewers.
A director of manufacturing and engineering for a beverage company told PMMI: “We would like machines that give us the flexibility to be more agile in the production process and allow us to be more reactive to retail changes in real time.”
Spending on equipment could increase in as a little as one year as nearly half of companies interviewed said they will be spending more on capital equipment in the next 12 to 24 months with fermentation processing equipment likely to lead the category.
The fermentation systems category is projected to grow at a CAGR of 17% between 2017 and 2021, according to Technavio.
“Since fermentation takes considerable time, breweries often buy multiple fermentation systems to process higher quantities of beer,” Ujjwal Doshi, one of the lead analysts at Technavio for media and entertainment research, said.