NORWALK, Conn., Oct. 7 /PRNewswire/ — During the first seven months of 2008, the U.S. beer industry has experienced dramatic change with MillerCoors officially working together as one entity, and the merger between Belgium-based InBev and U.S. brewer Anheuser-Busch. Despite the mega mergers and a difficult economic environment bringing higher costs for ingredients like barley and hops, the light and import beer segments are forecasted to grow 2 percent and 2.1 percent respectively, on an annual compound growth rate over the next five years, according to the Beverage Information Group’s recently released 2008 Beer Handbook.
“Light beers have gained ground since their arrival in the mid-1970s and show no signs of slowing,” says Eric Schmidt, manager of information services for the Beverage Information Group based in Norwalk, Connecticut. “The category was helped last year by the successful introduction of Miller Chill, selling 7 million cases in its first year.”
Also according to the 2008 Beer Handbook, the leading source for U.S. beer sales and consumption trends, the overall U.S. beer market climbed 1.2 percent last year to 2.9 billion 2.25-gallon cases, while growth of the imported beer category gained 2.8 percent to 408.3 million cases last year. It’s the second consecutive year of consumption gains. “Even so,” Schmidt adds, “the U.S. beer industry’s performance continues to be outpaced by both the distilled spirits and wine industries. New product offerings have been the driving force behind growth not only in the distilled spirits industry, but also among wines.”
Containing the latest sales and consumption data for beer and other malt beverages, the 2008 Beer Handbook also includes analysis by segment (light, micro/specialty, popular-priced, malt liquor, etc.), pricing, long-term trends, category development indices and future projections.