Craft Beer Growing – Big Beer Slowing

Poor ol’ big beer.  This economy is being blamed for the downward turn in sales over the last three years:

The last three years have been brutal. In the 52 weeks ending in late August, the number of beer cases sold in stores was down 1.5% from the year earlier, according to Nielsen, while spirit volume sales were up 3.2% in the year ending in mid-September. By year’s end, experts are forecasting beer volume to be down some 2%. That would mark the third year in a row of a decline, which hasn’t happened in 50 years

The funny thing is craft beer seems to be doing just fine:

On the other hand, smaller craft brands — which tend to appeal to wealthier drinkers — are still on fire. Craft was up 14% in the first half of the year

That’s great news for craft beer lovers; however, I’m not sure about the editor of Beer Business Daily’s reason for the upswing in craft beer:

“The brands that are growing are the brands the rich people drink,” Harry Schuhmacher, editor of Beer Business Daily, said in a convention presentation. Crafts also rarely do any expensive advertising, relying instead on social media, events and word-of-mouth buzz.

Maybe, just maybe, people are sick of watered down, generic beer.  Maybe, just maybe, people want something that not only has great flavor, but is brewed in their own community and not by a corporate conglomerate.  I personally think the increase in craft beers is more about flavor and supporting local business owners, and not about a rich demographic supporting the cause.  What do you think?


There are 3 comments left

  1. Tyler /

    I have never, ever heard of a craft beer drinker making a choice based on what rich people drink. In fact, in the thousands of conversations I have had about craft beer, what the wealthy drink has not come up a single time. Who knows what they are drinking? Are the 1% running around drinking 90 Minute IPA and Modus Hoperandi out of the can? If they are that’s news to me. What a wildly out of touch statement to make. I agree, maybe, just maybe it’s about taste and a desire to support local businesses. To add to that, maybe, just maybe it is also about craft beer being one of the few affordable luxuries that some of us still have left.

  2. Mike /

    I’ve recently started drinking craft brews and micro brews based solely on taste. All Anheiser-Busch beer tastes the same to me, and it’s not a good taste.

    Local breweries need supporting more now than ever and that drives me to spend a little more on a 6-pack that tastes delicious rather than a 30-pack of Natty Light to get drunk.

    I should also add that I am by no means rich. I’m a college student working minimum wage 40 hours a week. I like to have a 6 pack on the weekends and I like to have a good one, so I choose to spend anywhere between $10 and $15 on 6 beers.

  3. TC /

    Were I rich instead of a college student, I would almost certainly drink wine like my wealthier relatives. Craft beer offers super-amazing flavor and the ability to develop a palate without dropping insane amounts of dough. You can learn more about the culinary arts and about tasting through craft beer for less. That’s why I drink craft beer.

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