So much for beer being recession-proof
First the decoupling theory blew up, and now we find out that beer sales aren't that recession-proof at all. What's next? The Easter Bunny, Santa? Why don't they just burst all of my bubbles.
British beer sales are dropping, right along with the British Pound and the rest of the countey's economy. Today the British Beer and Pub Association reported that during the third quarter total beer sales fell around 7% year-over-year, the equivalent of 161 million fewer pints (76 million liters). That's a lot of beer!
Sales at British pubs have been steadily falling for a number of years, but industry analysts had expected consumers to begin drinking more beer at home. Apparently this isn't happening, the association's "Quarterly Beer Barometer" shows that the recent slowdown in beer sales has spread to include sales at supermarkets as well, which until now had held fairly well. British supermarket and liquor store sales dropped 6% during Q3. While better than the 8.1% drop at bars, the decline in liquor sales for home consumption was much larger than expected.
Part of the problem is the recent increase in the country's alcohol tax, which the government raised by 9.1% in March.
In France, beer sales at bars are down an estimated 12% year-to-date. Much of this steep decline is suspected to be a result of the country's recent ban on smoking in bars, which took effect at the beginning of the year.
German drinking has held up much better, down only 1.7% YTD, but the economy there has held up much better than in the rest of Europe.
Keeping the party going, beer sales are still increasing in the United States (U - S - A, U - S - A, I'm so proud of us). However the rate of growth has slowed to 0.5%, from 1.4% in 2007, and 2.1% in 2006.
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