US drinkers swap beer for wine27 September 2012
Beer consumption in the US fell again last year as beer drinkers switched to wine and spirits, according to a new report.
Heightened competition from the wine and spirits categories, high unemployment rates among core consumers and a struggling economy are cited for the declines in the Beverage Information Group's 2012 Beer Handbook.
Overall, the beer industry lost 35.6 million 2.25 gallon cases – a 1.3% decline – to end the year at 2.787 billion cases.
New products such as flavoured vodkas, category-crossing whiskey liqueurs, sweet red wines and high-end blends all posted solid gains.
Meanwhile, the report says that the domestic beer saw declines due to its lack of innovation and ability to connect with consumers. Light beer, the largest segment in the beer category, lost 39.2 million 2.25-gallon cases and other beer segments could not make up for the loss.
However, craft and imported beer segments' continued success helped to offset some of the overall industries' declines. Imported beer also saw an increase of 1.3% in 2011, and is projected to climb and consumer demand for premium products also increased.
Consumers are increasingly drawn to imports due to the wide variety of high-end products available, as consumers are trading back up to more premium brands.
The report pinpoints craft and import beers as the best growth opportunity for the industry.
“We are looking to the craft segment to continue to spur growth in the beer industry," said Adam Rogers, the Beverage Information Group’s senior analyst..
"Consumer interest is at its peak and there is unlimited potential for growth as more craft brewers enter the marketplace."
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