Thursday, January 3, 2008

Narrowing Gap in Beer/Spirits Buying?

Milwaukee's Journal Sentinel did a story on new year's eve about trends for 2007 when it comes to beer and spirits - this was subsequently mentioned on Brew Blog. The spirits industry seems to be content with attributing beer's overall success with a downward facing economy. While I agree in principle that this has worked in favor of the beer industry, I can't help but think that the bigger story is an increased interest in craft beers. Whether buying to support local brewers or just try different kinds of beer, people have been buying more and more craft beer for years - long before the economy's slow down.
In a conference call with investors at the end of November, Brown-Forman Chief Executive Paul Varga said wine and beer companies have benefited from slower growth in spirits, particularly in a weaker economy. Consumers, faced with fewer discretionary dollars to spend - as food and gas costs surge and home values decline - are also drinking more at home, Varga said.
Brown-Forman puts out Jack Daniels and Southern Comfort. I suspect they're experiencing a slowdown for the same reason A-B is - people in America are buying better foods and better drinks. From artisan cheeses and breads to craft beer and superior spirits, people have come to realize that the companies that advertise most may not actually have the best product. I mean, with the onslaught of fine bourbons on the market (from the affordable Elmer T Lee to the exceptional Bookers), it isn't really a surprise that folks are pulling away from JD & Coke drinks in favor of something a lot more satisfying. Right?