Beer Beats Wine       

Lately wine has been out-innovated by
brewers, who have flooded the market
with new beer flavors, brands and line
extensions, fueling a resurgence that's
coming at the expense of quality wine.

Wine volume sales grew 1.5% in 2012,
slowing from a 4% increase in 2011.
By contrast, beer and other malt
beverages grew 2%, reversing a 0.8%
slide in 2011. Liquor also jumped 2%. .  
The hottest wine varietals -- moscato
and malbec -- have lost some
momentum, and nothing has come
along to fill the gap. Some 44% of
beer's incremental sales growth at bars
and restaurants last year came from
innovation and new brands, compared
to 32% for wine, according to hospitality
industry analyst GuestMetrics. The
danger for beer is that it will become
too much like wine -- so that styles are
more important than brands, a risk that
brewers call "winefication." .

Time For Cider

A recent survey of alcohol consumer behaviors in the USA among people who consume
any type of alcoholic beverage at least once a week provides insight into the factors
driving the rapid growth of the hard cider category, how people perceive the cider
category, and what would make people drink cider more often in the future.

The top reason given for drinking more hard cider is new brands (35%) and new flavors
(31%). Women are especially likely to cite new brands (47%) and new flavors (39%). Among
men, the top reasons is they have grown to like its taste (33%) and they have found more
occasions to drink it (25%). Men also cite new brands (23%) and flavors (23%), and say
they consume cider because they are tired of drinking other types of alcohol (21%).

The cider category suffers from a large perception gap between drinkers and non-
drinkers. People who drink cider regularly (at least once a week) have a positive
opinion: they think cider tastes great (36%), is fun to drink (31%) and is high-quality (26%).
In contrast, people who don’t drink cider at all have a very negative opinion with only 5%
thinking it tastes good and 22% saying that cider is “not for people their age.”

The survey also asked what would make people drink cider more often. Among people
who current drink cider regularly (at least once per week), the most popular answer was
“if it was available in more bars and restaurants”, cited by 26%. This was also the #1
answer among people who drink cider occasionally, with 17% of them saying increased
availability in on-premise channels would make them consume cider more often. Both
groups also said that increased availability of cider in stores would also make them drink
it more often, (19% of regular drinkers and 15% of occasional drinkers).

Among people who don’t currently drink cider at all, 10% of them said they would drink
cider more often if it tasted better and 8% said that if cider was more popular they would
drink it more often. However, 68% of them said that “nothing” would make them drink
cider more often.  
Feature News  
Edited by Jim Attacap
the crossroads of the beer world

                Justice Dept. vs Bud

The DOJ filed suit Thursday to block
Anheuser-Busch InBev (maker of Budweiser,
Beck's, Michelob and 43 other brands of
beer) frombuying Grupo Modelo (brewer of Corona,
Modelo and six other brands) for $20.1 billion.

The department argues that Belgium-based
Anheuser-Busch, which holds nearly half the beer
market in the United States, has set the tone for the
other major brewers by steadily increasing the
wholesale price of its products.

Modelo's best-known brand is Corona, the bestselling
imported beer in the United States. Anheuser-Busch
(whose Bud Light is the bestselling U.S. beer overall)
tried to counter Corona's popularity by introducing Bud
Light Lime. Then it took the more direct route, seeking
to take over Mexico-based Modelo and its brands.

The essence of the government's argument is that the
deal would harm consumers by removing a competitor
that had been undercutting the other major brands'
prices.  The legal mess has only begun-stay tuned.