"I've never seen so much red ink on a spreadsheet in all my years in this business. It's really disconcerting."
~Harry Schuhmacher, publisher of Beer Business Daily
This is a stat no one in the macro trade can regard without a measure of palsy: only four of the top 30 tin can beers saw sales rise in the most recent month. The big three, Bud Light, Coors Light, and Miller Lite all tanked.
Industry shipments are down 4%, according to the Beer Institute. Several factors play into the trend, key among them the recession. MillerCoors Chief Marketing Officer Andy England said that unemployment remains particularly pronounced among the 21- to 35-year-old men who are the primary targets of beer companies, and also among Hispanics, another key segment. In many cases, they're opting for cheaper brews, or saving their consumption for a special occasion by splurging on craft-style beers. As a result, the "premium" lights are being squeezed by moves in both directions.A few facts about which I was unaware:
- Bud Light accounts fro 40% of A-B shipments, and was down 5.3% for the year;
- Coors Light and Miller Lite account for half of MillerCoors' business, and while Coors Light is just flatlining, Miller Lite is down 7.5%;
- Bud Light Golden Wheat is a bust.
How can Oregon's brewers possibly compete with that level of brewing innovation?