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Light Beer Heads Toward 10-Year Low As Other Categories Steal Share

July 3, 2014


Shanken News DailySource: Shanken News Daily

As American consumers gear up for the July 4th holiday weekend, they’re less likely to purchase light beer than they have been in many years. Impact Databank reports that since its peak in 2008, the domestic light beer segment has lost 8.3 million barrels in the U.S. market, a decline of 8%, as consumers increasingly turn to more flavorful alternatives such as imports, specialty craft beers, RTDs and ciders.

The overall U.S. beer market in 2013 mirrored the light segment’s downward trend, with total depletions sliding 1.5% to 195 million barrels—not including non-alcoholic beers—according to the Impact Databank. From 2000-2013, the beer category fell about 1.7 million barrels. In that same period, wine grew by 43%, or 99 million cases, and spirits also rose by 43%, or 63 million cases.

In 2013, the domestic light beer segment fell 3.5% to 98.4 million barrels. It’s projected to lose a further 4.9 million barrels through 2015, reaching a 10-year volume low. Meanwhile, wine and spirits are forecast to post modest but steady volume and share growth. Light beer’s share of the U.S. beer market fell to 50.3% in 2013 from 51.4% in 2012. The last time the segment’s market share was below 50% was in 2004. Young male drinkers play a key role for leading light brands, and economic conditions for that demographic have remained challenging since the recession in 2008.

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