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TRENDS: Per Capita Beer Consumption Increases


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  After declining annually since 2002, per capita beer consumption in the U.S. rose slightly last year. In 2007, total beer volume in the U.S. increased by 1.4%, returning to 2002 levels, according to recent research. We’re talking about domestic mass-marketed beers, the Buds, Coors and Millers—not the craft beers, which continue to grow each year (but represent a much smaller percentage of sales).

“Beer in the U.S.,” a report from Beverage Marketing Corporation, an industry research company, noted that per-capita consumption of beer in the country in 2007 hit 22 gallons (and if you don’t drink beer, think of how much the other guy is drinking). “While the decreases in the early years of the 21st century were in the order of one or two tenths of a gallon from one year to the next, they became a steadily recurring phenomenon,” the company said in the report.

While imports, which had been one of the most vibrant segments of the U.S. beer market, slowed considerably in 2003 and performed weakly in 2004, imports revived in 2005, but not enough to counterbalance the contraction in domestic sales. The result is that sales in the beer market were essentially flat. Imports played a crucial role in volume growth in 2006, increasing by double-digits. The largest U.S. brewer, Anheuser-Busch, had a sizeable increase in shipments of domestic brands in 2006 but stalled in 2007. However, the next two largest brewers, Miller Brewing Company and Coors Brewing Company, enjoyed solid growth, which contributed to another year of overall beer volume growth.

Find some of our favorite craft beers in THE NIBBLE’s Beer Section.
Learn more about beer in our Glossary of Beer Terms.
Learn the best Beer & Cheese Pairings.
See a six-course Beer & Food Pairing Dinner menu with recipes.
Check out these Tips for Serving Beer.




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