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NORWALK, Conn. -- Following a three-year downturn, the beer industry gained in both volume and dollars in 2012, with well-marketed new products and slight improvements in the unemployment contributing to the growth, according to the Beverage Information Group's newly released 2013 Beer Handbook.
While the second half of 2012 didn't do as well economically, the industry still saw a 0.8 percent increase to 2.9 billion 2.25-gallon cases. Super-premium, craft, imported and flavored malt beverages outperformed the overall industry due to increasing demand for higher-priced beer. Super-premium and premium increased 1.6 percent, while craft increased 13.7 percent to reach 185.2 million 2.25-gallon cases, marking the largest increase for craft beer in more than a decade.
New product launches such as Bud Light Platinum were not enough to keep light beer from declining for the fourth straight year. Popular and malt liquor segments also lost volume.
Despite the positive changes in 2012, the beer industry still faces challenges, according to the Beer Handbook. Further increases are likely for higher-priced segments, such as super-premium, craft and imported beer, but it is not yet certain whether they will help the industry maintain 2012's positive direction.
"Today's consumer no longer sees beer as their only drink option," said Adam Rogers, senior research analyst for the Beverage Information Group. "Spirits and wine marketers have been savvy in targeting consumers with flavored vodkas, rums and whiskies, as well as sweeter wines, which have continued to take share away from the beer industry."
The 2013 Beer Handbook is available for purchase at www.bevinfostore.com.