US Beer Consumption Plunges To Lowest Level In 24 Years

, US Beer Consumption Plunges To Lowest Level In 24 Years

We’ve told you, we will tell you when its time to worry.

It’s time to worry…

Here’s the deal…

Maybe it’s the ongoing legalization of cannabis, the emergence of alternatives like hard seltzers and canned cocktails, or simply the growing sobriety movement. Maybe its all of these things to differing degrees, but whatever the reason beer drinking in America has fallen to the lowest level in a generation.

“It was a tough year for beer,”  Beer Marketer’s Insight VP  David Steinman told NBC. Beer shipments were on track to plunge below 200 million barrels, a decline that hasn’t been seen since 1999.

“The year 2023 proved perhaps the most disruptive, shocking and profoundly unsettling year in our5 4 years of covering the industry, across multiple dimensions,” BMI stated in a recent report.

And yes, the Bud Light trans fiasco, which resulted in boycott that even spread to other Anheuser-Busch brands, was at the bleeding edge of this decline, but it was far from the only reason.

The beer industry also now finds itself competing against a surge of new alcohol products, many from nontraditional producers, according to Lester Jones, vice president of analytics and chief economist at the National Beer Wholesalers Association.

“For example, some of the world’s largest soft drink and energy companies introduced sugar-forward alcohol beverages to the market, all of which are vying for the same consumer occasions as traditional malt- and hop-forward products,” Jones said in an email to the network.

There’s also no denying that people are drinking alcohol less in general, whether it’s beer, wine or spirits.

According to a 2021 Gallup Poll, 60% of US adults drink alcoholic beverages, down from 65% in 2019. “This puts current alcohol consumption on the low end of the range Gallup has recorded over the past two decades, with the percentage imbibing as high as 67% in 2010.”

The Gallup report also noted that alcohol use varies in differing demographics…

“U.S. adults aged 35 to 54 are more likely to drink than their older and younger counterparts, and more college graduates say they drink alcoholic beverages than do those without a college degree. Still, majorities in each of these groups say they drink alcohol.”

And while overall beer consumption is down in the US, revenues are up, thanks to price increases put in place to offset inflation. So there’s that, but beer consumers are also dealing with rising prices in their daily lives, who knows how long that will last.

But the US beer industry shipped 208.6 million barrels, according to data from the National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) and the loss of almost 9 million barrels is a concerning drop.

And NBWA president Craig Purser did not mince words at its annual conference with wholesalers in October: ‘This is an industry-wide, five-alarm fire.’


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