28 July 2005

Wine vs Beer: Americans making the switch

Over a Vivi's Wine Journal, there was a recent post about a drop in beer consumption and an increase in wine consumption.

There are a lot of reasons for this, but the most important reason, I think, is the result of the recent round of brewery consolidations. As smaller brewers are absorbed into the larger breweries, the large brewers, eager to expand their market share, discontinue the absorbed brews. That's exactly what happened with Celis when they were purchased by Miller Brewing. Suddenly, those three rows of Celis beer became three rows of Miller Lite. As Miller, Budweiser, and Coors fight for market dominance, they squeeze out the smaller breweries, leaving the beer consumer with the choice between Bud Light, Miller Lite, and Coors Light. Yum.

Wine, on the other hand, celebrates different styles. There's a range of flavors that can be experienced in wine that the Big Brewers have, basically, eliminated in the beer world.

In Fred Eckerdt's The Essentials of Beer Style, he makes an interesting observation: every time Budweiser reduces the amount of hops in their product, their share of market increases. In other words, the blander the beer, the more people will buy it. This is also applicable in the food industry as well.

Another factor in wine's expansion is what I call "snob appeal." In my day job I work in the travel industry. Our clientele used to be the upper middle class. As the employees saw what the bosses were doing they decided to emulate them, and now our business is comfortably middle to lower-middle class. These folks are enjoying the things their bosses and their bosses used to enjoy.

Check out the original article, it's a fun read.

posted by hiikeeba at 12:06


Blogger Boise Brewer said...

Couldn't agree more. Finally got your link up. At least the brewpubs seem to be doing well, we can only hope the big boys dont start taking them out too.

2:15 PM  

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