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July 4 rough on the beer industry

Independence Day (possibly the greatest day in the world, for our friends across the pond) is usually one of the highest grossing times for beer brewers. This year, in the middle of a recession, was a little different according to this Advertising Age article.

Sales for Anheuser-Busch’s Bud Light and Budweiser plunged 7% and 14%, respectively, in grocery, convenience and drug stores during the two-week period ending July 5, according to scanner data from Information Resources Inc. Miller Lite suffered a 9% drop. The big importers were hurt badly too: Corona marketer Crown Imports watched sales decline 6% to 8%, while Heineken and Diageo each saw double-digit drops.

Ouch. So what happened? In part, people were buying less expensive beer. Busch, Natural Light and Keystone all posted gains. Cannibalization is also playing a role, as Bud Light Lime posted a 9% gain. Still, overall A-B sales were down 5.5%, and MillerCoors sales were down 3.3%. Which leads me to this.

I’d love to see some craft beer stats for the July 4 holiday 2009 if anyone comes across any. Overall this is disappointing but not unexpected news. Sure glad we’re not trying to launch a brewery in a tough economic environment.

1 thought on “July 4 rough on the beer industry

  1. Wow. Those are pretty bad numbers.

    It amazes me that anyone buys Corona. Most 12pks I see are 16.99-18.99.
    Crappy beer at a 30% markup…Speaks to the power of branding, I guess. Those commercials on the beach really work on the masses.

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