Saturday, 18 April 2009

Recession Bites


Seems the recession is hitting discretionary spending in the US. The previously buoyant imported beer scene is taking a severe knock. According to the Wall St Journal, sales of imported beer fell 19% in the first two months of the year, as customers switched to cheaper domestic beer. Some craft brewers have responded by cutting some of their prices to ensure that the switch isn't to mega brewers. Overall spending is down by 4% year on year.

This one has some way to play yet, but in a perverse way presents opportunities for domestic brewers everywhere to grab back some market share. Be interesting to see how the weak pound has affected our imported beer sales.

11 comments:

Woolpack Dave said...

The week pound had made imported beer expensive. This is something of a bummer in the year I have fallen in love with Belgian beer.

But still, domestic beer is damn good value in comparison.

Incidentally, US hops are still high in price when others are falling to more reasonable, nay less crazy, prices.

THOMAS 'Tom' CIZAUSKAS said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
THOMAS 'Tom' CIZAUSKAS said...

I have yet to read the WSJ article about the Jan/Feb 2009 statistics. However, in all of 2008, US craft beer sales actually increased by 5.8% by volume and 10.5% by dollars over 2007 (http://tinyurl.com/cpr58x).

As to craft brewers lowering prices, I wish it were true. I've only observed the opposite.

Tandleman said...

Hi Tom. The key here is 'some' brewers and 'some' prices. I know little of the terminology, but I believe it is in the 12 pack mixed case area. Dogfish Head for example was quoted as lowering prices by 20% for this kind of sale.

Hal Gardner said...

I just spent $4.59 per pint bottle on Pendle Witches Brew, which is rather expensive.

Tandleman said...

Might be unwise that!

Jeff Frane said...

In Oregon, I've yet to see any drop in craft beer prices, other than the occasional grocery sale. Belgian beers, however, appear to have edged up significantly of late and I'm much more cautious about what I buy as a result. A store like Belmont Station may have a zillion new beers, including a lot from Belgium and other countries in a similar style, but with prices often well over $10/bottle (750ml) I've gotten very picky.

And the visit to the UK two years ago has ruined me for bottled Brit beer -- so there are some brewers not getting my hard-earned.

Tandleman said...

With the sort of good indigenous bottled beers you have at your disposal over there Jeff, I wouldn't waste my money of many UK imports.

Jeff Frane said...

Turnover of a lot of beers isn't great and the British beers seem to suffer the most (along with weissbiers). Big strong Belgian ales obviously don't suffer, as long as they're cared for.

I used to enjoy the occasional Fuller's or Young's, which could be found in pretty good shape, but now? Like I said, I've been ruined.

Kieran Haslett-Moore said...

Where did that pic come from? Kiwi Macs Gold on the bottom.

Tandleman said...

Kieran - I can't remember. I just nicked it from some random site or other. Bad, but there you go.