In difficult economic times, people are always going to drink. But this time around, it seems more folks are drinking microbrews.
Craft brewers, defined as those who brew less than 2 billion barrels a year, are enjoying good times in this bad economy as consumers trade down from higher-priced wine and cocktails to boutique beers.
In a story by Edith Honan for Reuters, New York beer maker Kelly Taylor talks about the trend. â€˜You can buy an exceptional beer for half the price of a mediocre glass of wine,â€™ he says. Justin Phillips, co-owner of the Beer Table bar in Brooklyn, N.Y., echoes those sentiments. â€˜People are recognizing that there is a diverse world of beer. And it tends to be less expensive than other drinks,â€™ Phillips says.
The number of microbreweries in the U.S. has grown by almost 5 percent in the past 5 years, and the average number of barrels brewed per year by these brewers has increased by 35 percent since 2004.
Boutique beers earned $6.3 billion in retail sales and grew by nearly 6 percent in 2008, just as the economy was cratering.
In addition to the shaky economy, another factor in craft beers’ growing popularity may be the â€˜eat (and drink) localâ€™ movement. More beer drinkers are opting to support their local microbrewery.
As the economy begins to recover, it will be interesting to monitor the course of this â€˜microâ€™ trend.
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