The Economics of Craft Alcohol


The Economics of Craft Alcohol

Craft alcohol brands can't operate in the same way as big multi-national brands. Today we look at the reasons why craft brands need higher margins.

In the vibrant world of alcohol, craft and independent brands have carved out a niche of their own. Their unique flavors and artisanal methods have won the hearts of connoisseurs around the globe. 

However, behind the scenes of their success, there's an important economic factor that often goes unnoticed: the need for higher sales margins. But why do these independent alcohol brands require higher sales margins compared to their larger counterparts? Let's explore.

Craft Alcohol: A Different Ball Game

The production of craft spirits and liquor is inherently different from that of mass-produced alcohol. Independent brands often prioritize quality over quantity, using premium ingredients and artisanal methods. This approach results in superior products, but it also comes with higher production costs. From sourcing quality materials to investing in skilled labor, every step in the production process contributes to these costs.

Economies of Scale: The Larger Brand Advantage

Larger alcohol brands, on the other hand, enjoy economies of scale. They produce in massive quantities, allowing them to spread their fixed costs over a larger number of units. This advantage allows them to sell their products at lower prices and with smaller margins, while still remaining profitable.

Craft and independent brands, with their smaller production volumes, don't have this luxury. To cover their costs and remain viable, they need to aim for higher sales margins.

The Distribution Dilemma

Distribution is another area where independent alcohol brands face unique challenges. Getting their products to the market often involves dealing with multiple layers of wholesalers and retailers, each adding their own markup. This process can eat into the brand's potential profit margin.

Moreover, navigating the logistics of distribution - whether it's managing a warehouse or dealing with the import regulations in places like Europe - can be both complex and costly for smaller brands. In contrast, larger alcohol brands often have dedicated logistics teams or can absorb these costs more easily due to their scale. Thankfully there are now tools built specifically to help craft brands distribute their products like Lexir.

Marketing and Branding: The Cost of Standing Out

Craft and independent alcohol brands also face considerable marketing and branding costs. To compete with larger brands and make their products stand out on the shelves, they need to invest in eye-catching packaging and marketing campaigns. These investments are necessary to build brand recognition and attract customers, but they also contribute to the need for higher sales margins.

The Price of Passion

Craft and independent alcohol brands are often driven by a passion for creating unique, high-quality spirits and liquor. They're not just selling a product; they're selling a story, an experience, a labor of love. This commitment to quality and authenticity comes at a cost - but it's a cost these brands are willing to bear to stay true to their vision.

While craft and independent alcohol brands face unique challenges and costs that necessitate higher sales margins, they also offer something truly special to the market. Their commitment to quality, authenticity, and innovation sets them apart and creates a unique niche in the alcohol industry.

How to Close the Gap

At Lexir, we understand the economics behind craft brands is different. We know distribution channels can be pricey, but they don't need to be! We simplified the supply chain so craft brands can keep more of their margin and control their pricing across the board.

If you’re interested in getting started, be sure to check us out at