A BOOST FOR BEER SALES
Beer sales in the US are perking up but it’s not mainstream domestics that are driving growth. Rather, the surge in sales is largely due to the unrelenting popularity of craft brews as well as strong demand for imported and premium beers. According to statistics from the Beer Institute, total beer sales in the US rose two percent in 2O11, to $98.94 billion. Numbers were especially strong in bars and restaurants. Revenue grew three percent in that category, while off-premise sales rose less than one percent. The Beer Institute said that 56 percent of the money Americans spent on beer last year was spent on-premise – though higher prices in bars and restaurants meant that a full 81 percent of the total volume of beer was purchased for off-premise consumption. As it has been for several years, the most sluggish category in the beer market was standard domestic beer. In fact, things are looking quite grim for the once dominant category. A September report by the online news site 24/7 Wall Street on the dire state of big box American brewers showed that sales of marquee brands plummeted by more than half between 2OO7 and 2O1O. Tiffany Hsu of the la times attributed the disparity between mid-shelf sales and those for premium brews to the lingering impact of the recession on middle-income consumers, who have historically been the strongest market for domestic beer.