For the fourth year in a row, the beer industry has continued its declines and lost 1.9% to total 2.8 billion cases. According to the Beverage Information Group's recently released 2011 Beer Handbook, continued declines in the Light segment continue to contribute to the overall losses in the industry. This segment has seen declines amongst its core brands and is only seeing pockets of growth from newly introduced line extensions.
Despite the struggling economy, growth was seen among the Craft segment as well as Imports. The higher-priced Craft segment continued to post solid gains due to consumers' attraction to the interesting flavors craft brewers offer. Imports, which previously have been experiencing declines, gained 0.9% to 362-8 million cases last year, but that is still 11.1% lower than its pre-recessionary levels.From Monday's post on falling macro sales, the theme was that the big brewers are seeing sales of their regular beers drop, while light beers held steady - however, this appears to be isolated to the beers highlighted as the overall trend is down. Overall beer consumption in the US is falling which suggests that beer is not recession proof, as the anemic economy appears to be having an impact.
But craft beer does appear to be recession proof, but that clearly comes from the cannibalization of the macro market and not from overall market growth.