Beer sales stumble
Light beers, craft beers grow while overall market shrinks
Sept 21, 2004 - Americans drinking less beer? The latest report from Adams Beverage Group, and industry research firm, indicates that the beer market shrank 0.3% in 2003.
A 20 year-plus trend, where light beer and craft beers continued to enjoy growing sales, remained in place. Sales of light beers, the largest beer segment with nearly 50% of the total market, rose 3.6%. More than two-thirds of the gain in the light beer segment came from two low-carb offerings, Anheuser Busch's Michelob Ultra and Rolling Rock's Rock Green Light,
Microbrewed beers - many proudly not low-carb - gained 3.4%, in contrast to imports, which fell to their lowest growth rate in more than a decade.
"Beer consumption clearly took a hit from the focus on low-carb diets," said Tiziana Mohorovic, spokeswoman for Adams Beverage Group, in a statement. "Increased competition from spirits and wine products also took its toll."
A spokeswoman for the National Beer Wholesalers Association confirmed that beer sales have been flat in recent years, but she attributed the softness to cooler summers.
"People typically associate beer with outdoor activities, and with the cooler weather, people just haven't been spending as much time outdoors," the spokeswoman added.
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