This is a typical question you might find on a nerdy beer website that Rob or I frequent, the general question that someone may pose that lets people expound on whether or not they are preferring a specific style or if they have found a new beer crush that they just have to tell the world about. But if this question were posited to a random person in America, the answer is less likely to be “beer” at all compared to 20 years ago. A lot less.
Derek Thompson, writing for the Atlantic, has posted an article with Gallup poll numbers and Beer is getting blasted. Less and less people are drinking the malt of mirth and more likely to choose another alcoholic beverage, whether it be wine or liquor. Other beverages are also up, such as tea and bottled water, compared to over a decade ago. Bottled water has seen a more than 50% increase since the start of the century, amazing in a country where almost any water source outside of Northeastern Pennsylvania is safe to drink. But political digs aside, I find that good beer is becoming omnipresent where I reside and the bars are packed with people like me ready to fork over good money for good beer. Then I saw this graph.
This shocked the hell out of me. It’s easy to skew a graph to reflect your point, but that’s one hell of a drop compared to the modest increase of the other two. Thompson hazards some guesses as to why this is. His main point is that people are becoming more health conscious, especially about calorie consumption. So beer is the first to go if you want to find a buzz without increasing your waistline. It also could explain the large increases in tea and bottled water compared to soft drinks, which are also way down. But juice has seen an almost 20% decrease and milk is down in consumption as well, two historically healthy beverages. I also don’t buy his position that American’s have recently woken up and realized that wine is amazing. The first graph shows essentially flat growth in wine preference despite a huge increase in the number of wineries that have sprung up in that same time period. Liquor does appear to be a major culprit of declining beer sales. Celebrity endorsements are making it quite trendy to go to clubs and order a fancy cocktail that demonstrates your ability to throw down cash on an expensive, high-brow mixed drink instead of a cheap, light beer.
Another opinion, and one that Rob, Jesse, and I discuss in more depth on the upcoming episode nine of our podcast, is that beer sales of the BMC three are seeing drastic declines, especially in their core brands while craft beer, still a small part of the beer industry is seeing slight growth. If you are a coke guy, your options are Pepsi and… RC Cola? If you’re a Bud guy, the number of alternatives available today are chipping away at the once solid monopoly of Bud, Miller, and Coors.
Perhaps it is as simple as changing tastes? As beer becomes more specialized and its status elevated, it is becoming more of a “sometimes” drink instead of a go-to nightly habit. Thus people are branching out to other varieties of alcohol instead of the ol’ standby. So what are you drinking these days?
Source: The Atlantic