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US beer sales fall to lowest level in quarter of a century

Americans are currently drinking the lowest amount of beer since the 1990s, according to the latest data from the Beer Marketers’ Insight (BMI) report.

The report reveals that beer shipments have fallen by 5% in the first three quarters of 2023, and were on track to fall below 200 million barrels for the whole year.

As a result, this would be the lowest level of beer consumption in the USA since 1999, and against a 23% population growth since te turn of the Millennium.

Speaking to NBC, BMI vice president David Steinman said it had been a “tough year for beer” and big global brands, which are particularly popular in America, including Coors Light, Miller Light and Bud Light, had all declined.

Steinman said the long-term decline was due to competition from a number of new alcoholic products, which were being made from producers that hadn’t traditionally dominated the marketplace such as Anheuser Busch.

Lester Jones, vice president of analytics and chief economist at the National Beer Wholesalers Association, added to NBC that  some of the world’s largest soft drink and energy companies introduced sugar-forward alcohol beverages to the market, “all of which are vying for the same consumer occasions as traditional malt- and hop-forward products”, he said.

Despite the decline in traditional ‘Light’ variants and the overall US beer market, imports such as Modelo Especial have increased, and which also became the biggest selling brand in America.

In additional, beer sales throughout the rest of the world are still strong and the continual growth in premiumisation has meant that profits have risen against smaller volumes of sales.

Jones added the beer industry in the US had a “wild ride” in 2023, which followed the decline in the craft beer explosion that had dominated the 2010s, and the beverage now had to compete with the wide range of alcoholic drinks available, which had created “an oversupplied alcohol marketplace that saw a rapid influx of new products”.

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