Recession hits beer sales


Beer sales are known for being recession-resistant, but that isn't looking to be the case this time around. The London-based brewer behind the Miller brand recently reported that its shipments dropped unexpectedly in the third quarter. MillerCoors said its premium light brand volumes were down 2.4%. MillerLite sales were down 7.5%

The World of Anheuser-Busch

Not surprisingly, the weakness in sales is being driven by smaller orders at restaurants and bars, which are anything but recession-proof. But it seems that some people are opting to skip out on beer entirely instead of heading to the liquor store to take home a case of Keystone Light.

Beer sales normally grow at about 1% per year -- in 2008, they only grew by half that amount. But it could get worse in 2009.

I can't help but wonder whether the combination of plunging 401(k)s and foreclosures has people thinking they need something a little more potent than beer. The Dayton Business Journal reports that in Ohio -- one of the harder hit sates -- sales of liquor containing more than 21% alcohol rose 5% in 2008. The top-seller was the bargain basement Kamchatka Vodka, which moved 380,465 gallons in that state.