June 5, 2010, 1:24 p.m.

The Death of Beer? - Food - The Atlantic

I've been seeing a lot of talk about the recent decline in the top beer manufacturers sales lately. The big number to focus on is the decline in Bud Lite sales, which haven't declined in a ridiculously long time (39 years maybe?). On the other hand craft beer has been a growing segment for the past 20 years. That's been said over and over. I just read an article my the Atlantic that put an interesting point into the discussion, where macro-brews are on the decline liquor and wine are growing. The article then makes some speculations about what this means given that it is more of an opinion piece I stopped paying attention (plus the title is "The Death of Beer" so and that's just retarded). You can boil it down to this: people are drinking less beer and more wine or liquor. That's interesting. Personally I think that beer will regain dominance with the accent of craft beer.

The main reason why this stands out to me is because of a conversation I had with a salesman from a beer/wine distribution company about the changing nature of the industry. Like the big brewing companies the distribution houses have been consolidating (he works for one of those). He said that the big ones in WA have been buying a LOT of liquor. That is really interesting because in WA the state does its own distribution. Those distribution houses are banking on getting the law changed so that the state will get out of the liquor distribution game. This would be a huge boon to the distributors not because the margin on liquor is much better but because the cost associated with distributing liquor is much lower. Think about it: you could buy a 6-pack of your choice of beer for about the same cost as a tiny 250 ml bottle of liquor. The weight and size of that 6-pack is going to make it more expensive to distribute. Thus the stockpile of liquor in a state where private companies can't sell it.

I don't know if any of this is really true but I think it's worth looking out for.

Original article: The Death of Beer

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