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    Beer Gaining Consumer Momentum

    Domestic and craft beer most popular, microbrew moving up the ranks.

    CHICAGO -- It looks like New Year's Eve revelers will be toasting with a glass of … domestic beer, instead of champagne. According to the latest research by Mintel spirits barely edged out beer as the most popular beverage enjoyed by consumers between 2009-2010. Domestic beer is top dog in the beer category, followed by imported varieties with 33 percent of all beer drinkers aged 21 and up drinking domestic craft beer instead. "Craft beers have increased in popularity in the past five years, and enjoyed a boost in their consumer base," Garima Goel Lal, senior analyst at Mintel said in a released statement.

    "Craft beer is most popular with the 25-34-year-old crowd, so manufacturers would be wise to target this demographic and educate them more about artisan beers." Lal added that "the recession hit many industries hard, and the beer market was no exception. The good news is, it appears that the influence of the recession is becoming less pronounced on the beer market in terms of losing volume. The number of beer drinkers who are drinking less beer has decreased since 2009."

    According to Mintel research consumer education is key to cultivating growth in the craft/microbrew market as an impressive 51 percent of consumers say they would like to try more craft/microbrew beers if they knew more about them. However, Mintel noted that price can be a deterrent for some drinkers when it comes to purchasing craft beers; as only 41 percent of drinkers only enjoy craft/microbrew as a treat because of the higher costs.

    Research also included packaging of beer, as Mintel found that what the beer comes in is just as important as the beer itself: 63 percent of beer drinkers prefer bottles, 20 percent prefer canned beer, 8 percent are partial to draft beer served in a large container and just two percent prefer a keg.

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