Is the Economy Really to Blame, MillerCoors?

One of the web info services I subscribe to is, a British-based site that covers drinks industry news primarily from a trade perspective. It’s a terrific operation and one occasionally gifted with razor-sharp insight. Like when editor Olly Wehring made the following observation this morning:

The continuing slide in beer sales in the US will not stop until more people are back in work – that has been the message since the turn of the year from industry leaders Anheuser-Busch InBev and MillerCoors.

“Until the economy shows some money in the pocket of our key beer drinkers, we’ve got a challenge,” said MillerCoors CEO Leo Kiely in the group’s full-year results conference call ( last month.

And yet, small-time craft brewers continue to report figures that are apparently untouched by the general market malaise. According to figures announced last week, sales of craft beer in the country rose by 7% in volume and 10% in value in 2009 ( That compares pretty favourably to 2% volume sales falls for A-B InBev and MillerCoors over the same period.

Granted, craft beers are working off a much smaller base and only constitute 4% of US beer market volume. But, looking at the disparity between the sales figures for 2009, is it really only the economy that is holding back the heavyweights?

(Note: You need be a registered member to follow the first link and a full member for the second.)

Indeed, it is worth asking why sales in one segment are falling while in another, albeit small segment, things are positively booming. Could it be, oh, I don’t know, maybe…taste!?!?

2 Replies to “Is the Economy Really to Blame, MillerCoors?”

  1. It’s almost the same trend that can be seen here in CZ, overall drop in consumption, with the macros reflecting that trend, while many regional breweries have recorded substantial growth. And the reaction of the big boys is very similar, blaming the crisis, etc…

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