In August Foster's flagship beer, VB, fell by 15.4 per cent in volume, while its Pure Blonde brand fell by almost 20 per cent. Its Mexican import, Corona, bucked the trend and was up 20.2 per cent. It was a similar story for Lion Nathan, with XXXX down 4.2 per cent, Tooheys down 16.2 per cent and Boags down 8.1 per cent.This may be similar to the trend in the US, where domestics are down, though the Corona data point confuses matter. As to the performance of Australian craft breweries, the Morning Herald says only this: "Mr Bowley said these drivers included consumers dumping beers such as VB or Tooheys for imports and boutique beers." Good, I guess, but I'd like to see some numbers.
Here's a question I wonder about: has consolidation and homogenization of international light lagers led to some kind of tipping point where consumers are actually turning away from them? Or, is this a case of a trend that's just having its moment? Put another way, which is the better analogue to what we're seeing: the displacement of crappy coffee by much higher-quality blends, or the momentary success of a fad like wine coolers? No doubt it's somewhere in-between, but which is closer to the mark?