Beer Sales Down
Beer sales have been on the decline in
the U.S., with shipments dipping 1.4%
last year to 210 million barrels, an
eight-year low, according to publication
Beer Marketer's Insights.
Anheuser-Busch, whose brands include
Budweiser and Bud Light, slipped below
the 100million-barrel benchmark for the
first time in a decade.
Big brewers are fighting back,
introducing craft beers and other spins
in a bid to recapture straying
customers. Anheuser-Busch InBev,
which is spending at least $30 million
on Super Bowl ads, will devote two of its
six game-time spots to one of those
products, its new higher-alcohol Bud
Light Platinum. The brew's 6% alcohol
content reflects Americans' growing
interest in stronger drinks with a
perceived sophistication. Sales of both
wine and hard liquor such as vodka,
bourbon and whiskey are up 4% or
more over the last year, helped in part
by images in popular media.
Government Fights Beer
In Russia, which has one of the world’s highest rates of alcoholism and alcohol-related illness,
vodka remains the top choice but beer is not far behind. The average Russian drinks more
than four gallons of alcohol a year. Because of ever increasing consumption the government
has put a new law into effect to, they believe, cut back on beer sales.
The new law bans beer sales from kiosks entirely, and in other stores between 11 p.m. and 8 a.m.
That along with increased taxes on beer aims to curb public drinking, particularly the casual
drinking in city parks and snow-covered promenades that can begin before breakfast and
end after midnight. Though technically illegal, drinking in such public spaces is usually tolerated.
Industry statistics show that the kiosks, which line streets and typically cluster around subway
stations, account for about 30 percent of all beer sales.
The brewing industry warns that the crackdown could make harder alcohol even more popular.
"It will be tougher if you want to buy a beer on the way home from work, or pop down from your
apartment," Isaac Sheps, chairman of the Union of Russian Brewers, said.
"So you have to stock at home. And stocking beer is more problematic than stocking vodka.
It's bulky, it's big and there's no room for it in small homes. It's much easier to buy two
bottles of vodka and manage for your instant need for alcohol. So it's quite ironic that this
attempt to improve health and lower alcoholism could have the opposite effect and cause
people to drink more harmful spirits," Sheps said.
Winter remains the prime drinking time for Russians. Government statistics show that Vodka
accounts for almost 50% of alcohol sales between November - February. while beer has 35%,
wine 10 %, champagne 1 %, and other spirits 4%.
the crossroads of the beer world