US: Beer losing out to wine and spirits

23 September, 2009

US: The beer industry is losing out to the growth of distilled spirits and wine, according to the Beverage Information Groupís recently released 2009 Beer Handbook.

The Groupís research revealed that the beer industry enjoyed its third consecutive year of increased volume last year, climbing 0.5%. However, the landscape of the industry changed dramatically and results for the first half of 2009 have not been as positive as originally forecast. The growth of the distilled spirits and wine industries continues to take market share away from beer industry, albeit at a slower rate in 2008 than previously.

The handbook suggests that light beers' popularity hasn't waned. According to research, Ďit has grown to become the largest beer segment, controlling more than half of the beer market. Consumers continue to consume more light/low-carbohydrate beer offerings. Last year's successful launch of Bud Light Lime helped the Light beer segment gain 2.1%.í

ĎIceí and Ďpopularí segments have also gained volume. These categories benefited from consumers trading down in the recessionary environment with ice gaining 4.0% and popular beers seeing its first upturn in more than 20 years with a 0.3% gain to 232.6 million cases.

The report showed a decline in imported beer, which lost 5.4% to 386.1 million cases last year.

Eric Schmidt, manager of information services for the Beverage Information Group based in Norwalk, Connecticut, said: "Lights have gained ground continuously since their arrival almost 30 years ago and show no signs of slowing down.

"Light is forecast to grow 2.0% on an annual compound growth rate over the next five years."

The popular beer segment is also expected to continue its positive momentum, while imports, predicted to lose volume in 2009, will slowly recover over the next five years as the economy emerges from the recession.

The 2009 Beer Handbook also includes analysis by segment, pricing, long-term trends, category development indices and future projections. It costs or $915 with companion CD. There are additional shipping charges. Visit for more information.

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