Beer on the Rise: Direct Sales Fuel Industry Growth


For years, the beer industry has witnessed a steady rise in sales ever since its initial slump in 2020. In fact, in 2019, the beer revenue in the United States alone exceeded 0 billion, according to Statista. Yet, the COVID-19 pandemic dealt a blow, leading to a plunge of over billion, with revenue dropping to .4 billion.

Since then, the industry has shown consistent growth, albeit at a gradual pace, adding less than billion annually. This year, experts predict beer revenue to hit 6.6 billion, with projections indicating an impressive 5 billion by 2027.

The DTC Advantage: Meeting Consumer Demands

However, selling beer today extends beyond traditional bottling and shelf space optimization. Consumers, including beer enthusiasts, are increasingly opting for direct-to-consumer (DTC) purchases. This shift is driven by the remarkable growth of online retail, which has been steadily climbing since the pandemic.

From 2015 to 2019, global online retail sales experienced an annual increase of less than 2%, with 13.6% of all retail transactions taking place online in 2019. However, 2020 marked a surge in online retail sales, leaping to 18%. Since then, e-commerce has maintained its momentum, with no signs of reverting to pre-pandemic levels.

Wine and spirits have enjoyed greater accessibility online, but the beer industry has recently grappled with limited DTC options. Nevertheless, certain breweries are capitalizing on this demand by establishing a strong online presence.

Talea Beer Co.: NYC’s First Female-Owned Brewery

Talea Beer Co., a craft brewery based in New York City, is one such enterprise that successfully meets consumer needs through online sales. Tara Hankinson and LeAnn Darland, the brewery’s co-founders and co-CEOs, hold a unique distinction: they lead the city’s first and only female-owned brewery.

While customers can enjoy a delightful experience visiting their charming taprooms, Talea also offers an enticing selection of craft IPAs, pilsners, sours, and more through their website. This DTC model allows beer enthusiasts to savor their favorite brews from the comfort of their homes.

From Homebrewing to Business Success

Hankinson and Darland, the dynamic duo behind Talea, come from diverse backgrounds. Darland, after graduating from the Naval Academy, served proudly in the Navy for five years. Later, while residing in San Diego, she ventured into the world of finance at Google, concurrently immersing herself in the vibrant craft beer scene as an avid consumer.

Hankinson, on the other hand, entered the world of business after earning a degree from NYU. Her fascination with wine classes led her to recognize a significant gap in the craft beer industry, which seemed to lack the immersive experiences common in the wine world.

“Inspired by this observation,” Hankinson recalls, “I began home brewing while working full-time in management consulting.” Their paths crossed within just three months, and they quickly discovered their shared passion for craft beer, which set them on a course toward creating Talea.

“Having a co-founder is paramount in entrepreneurship, which can be a solitary endeavor,” Hankinson says. “It’s particularly valuable for women navigating the business world.”

Their unwavering dedication to craft beer has translated into tangible success in the market. Since its inception in 2021, Talea has established four thriving taprooms in strategic locations throughout New York City.

Advice for Ambitious Entrepreneurs

“Avoid letting perfection hinder your progress,” advises Hankinson. “Embrace imperfection, because sometimes moving forward takes precedence over meticulous precision.” With a touch of determination and a dash of flexibility, Hankinson and Darland’s journey serves as an inspiring reminder that success can often be found in the unexpected.

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