Wine to Shine; No Cheer for Beer

It was another year of declines for the beer industry in the U.S. Heightened competition from other beverage alcohol segments, high unemployment rates among core consumers and a struggling economy resulted in the loss.

According to the recently released Beverage Information Group’s 2012 Beer Handbook, the overall beer industry lost 35.6 million 2.25 gallon cases – a 1.3% decline – to end the year at 2.787 billion cases.

Its findings further reveal that U.S. consumers are gravitating to the wine and spirits industries with their new product offerings such as flavored vodkas, category-crossing whiskey liqueurs, sweet reds and high-end blends.

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Meanwhile, Heineken, the world’s leading premium beer brand, has announced a new TV and digital campaign in anticipation of the upcoming release of SKYFALL, the 23rd James Bond adventure, in which Daniel Craig brings his explosive portrayal of James Bond to a Heineken ad for the very first time. (Read: Will You Crack the Case for the Bond Girl?)

And Budweiser, an American-style lager, in partnership with YouTube and Pandora announced its plan to deliver live webcasts and music streams of the inaugural Budweiser Made in America music festival. (Read: ‘Budweiser Made in America’ Festival on YouTube)

According to Beverage Information Group, domestic beer saw declines due to its lack of innovation and ability to connect with consumers.

With the largest segment, Light beer, losing 39.2 million 2.25-gallon cases, the other beer segments could not make up for the loss. The Craft and Imported beer segments’ continued success helped to offset some of the overall industries’ declines, but could not fix the problem.

[ Also Read: 100-Year-Old Whisky Reveals its Secrets ]

According to the Beer Handbook, Imported beer also saw an increase of 1.3% in 2011, and is projected to climb. 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 growth in the Craft and Imported beer categories seen over the years is expected to continue, with Imports projected to grow at a slightly slower rate.  It remains to be seen if they can offset the declines in the domestic categories, says Beverage Information Group.

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Unemployment rates, economic uncertainty, rising commodity and fuel costs all impact beer pricing structure and therefore, volume.

“We are looking to the Craft segment to continue to spur growth in the beer industry,” says Adam Rogers, senior analyst for the Beverage Information Group, Norwalk, Conn.  “Consumer interest is at its peak and there is unlimited potential for growth as more craft brewers enter the marketplace.”

Beverage Information Group made this announcement Wednesday, Sept. 26.

The Beverage Information Group is a division of M2MEDIA360, a business-to-business media company headquartered in San Francisco with offices throughout the United States.

Drink Responsibly

Photo courtesy: Beverage Information Group

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Rakesh Raman