Manufacturing News

Beer loses out to wine and spirits

US beer consumption continues its decline as consumers gravitate toward wine and spirits innovations

Wine overtakes beer2011 was another year of declines for the beer industry as heightened competition from other beverage alcohol segments, high unemployment rates among core consumers and a struggling economy contributed to the loss, according to the Beverage Information Group’s 2012 Beer Handbook. Overall, the beer industry lost 35.6 million 2.25-gallon cases—a 1.3 percent decline—to end the year at 2.787 billion cases.

Consumers are moving to the wine and spirits industries with their new and innovative product offerings such as flavored vodkas, category-crossing whiskey liqueurs, sweet reds and high-end blends. Unfortunately, domestic beer saw declines due to its lack of innovation as well as an inability to connect with customers. The largest segment, light beer, lost 39.2 million cases, and other beer segments could not make up for the loss. According to the handbook, the craft and imported beer segments’ continued success helped to offset some of the overall industry’s declines, but could not stop the overall loss.

Imported beer saw an increase of 1.3 percent in 2011, and is projected to climb. Consumers are increasingly attracted to imports due to the wide variety of high-end products available, and are trading back up to more premium brands, says the handbook.

The growth in the craft and imported beer categories seen over the years is expected to continue, with imports projected to grow at a slightly slower rate. It remains to be seen whether they can offset the declines in the domestic categories. Unemployment rates, economic uncertainty and rising commodity and fuel costs all affect beer pricing structure and volume.

“We are looking to the craft segment to continue to spur growth in the beer industry,” says Adam Rogers, senior analyst for the Beverage Information Group. “Consumer interest is at its peak, and there is unlimited potential for growth as more craft brewers enter the marketplace.”

In spite of sagging beer sales, large and small beer brewers are investing in expanding operations and building new facilities, according to research from Industrial Info. The research firm has discovered more than 65 major capital and maintenance projects in the beer brewing segment totaling more than $800 million. Project investments range from $1 million to slightly more than $100 million.

For more information, visit the Beverage Information Group’s website.

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Food Engineering Magazine.

You must login or register in order to post a comment.



Image Galleries

IPPE 2015

The 2015 International Production and Processing Expo (IPPE) was held in Atlanta at the Georgia World Congress Center, Jan. 27-29. More than 30,000 poultry, meat and feed industry representatives attended the event to interact with the 1,288 exhibitors on the show floor that covered more than 490,000 net square feet. At the show exhibitors demonstrated innovations in equipment, supplies and services utilized by firm in the production and processing of meat, poultry, eggs and feed products.


Burns & McDonnell project manager RJ Hope and senior project engineer Justin Hamilton discuss the distinctions between Food Safety and Food Defense as well as the implications for food manufacturers of the Food Safety Modernization Act.
More Podcasts

Food Engineering

Food Engineering February 2015 Cover

2015 February

In this February 2015 issue of Food Engineering, we explore how energy waste caused by leaks in compressed air, steam and water or faulty building insulation/seals can be reduced with the right equipment and knowledge.

Table Of Contents Subscribe

FSMA Audit

What is the is most important step you have taken to become ready for a FSMA audit?
View Results Poll Archive


Food Authentication Using Bioorganic Molecules

This text provides critical tools and data needed to augment routine food analysis and enhance food safety by aiding in the detection of counterfeit, and potentially deleterious, foods.

More Products

Clear Seas Research

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications,Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.


FE recent tweets

facebook_40.pngtwitter_40px.pngyoutube_40px.png linkedin_40px.pngGoogle +

Food Master

Food Engineering Food Master 2015Food Master 2015 is now available!

Where the buying process begins in the food and beverage manufacturing market. 

Visit to learn more.