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Monday, October 11, 2010

Australian For Beer? Corona.

This is enough to give even a Foster's-snubbing yank the willies: Aussies are abandoning beer in shocking numbers:
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?

1 comment:

  1. I thought this would be interesting to post to some Australian homebrewers to see what they have to say. You can check out the thread at

    Of 56 comments, the following was interesting...

    Also beer is just too bloody expensive here compared with the US and Canada and only about $10.00 a case in places like Venezuela.

    Went into Dans bought a 6pack Budvar 2x Youngs double Choc stout and a bottle of red and it came to $43.00

    and this...

    I got back from the states over a week ago, and while I did intentionally stay in beer-focused areas, we have soo far to go to approach comparison.

    Price plays a huge part in my limited experience.
    I thought that PBR, which is kind of a discerning bogan drink, tasted like what we would call a premium lager and charge $60 or so a case for. You can get a pint of PBR for like $2 at a bar.
    We are bringing in Bud, perhaps even brewing it locally, and we will be stupid enough to pay at least 3 times as much as your average fratboy.

    My girlfriend and I quickly popped in to a reputable beer bar on our way home in SF and were able to get $3 happy hour glasses (6oz or so) of Consecration. That nearly brew my mind. I got geuze on tap for $5, I could have sat on it all night. For the princely sum of $6 or so, you can get near anything.

    If I drank here like I spent my time drinking beer over there it would be astronomically expensive, even if it is exceptional cosumption behaviour.

    I did like that the micros seemed to be a source of local pride for your average non-brewing person. I see a distinct difference between this and the Australian "I can't believe how many different kinds there are" novelty value thing. That said, I saw one of my ol' boy's mates, unashamedly a rugged bogan boozer, turn up to a party with a bunch of Fiddler's Elbow bottles. Maybe novelty, maybe change.