Retail Beer Sales Rose 2% in 2011

More than $98 billion in retail revenue anchored by boost in high-end beer sales

Published in CSP Daily News

WASHINGTON -- Retail beer sales rose more than 2% in 2011, according to new data released by the Beer Institute, highlighting beer's continued strength within the alcohol beverage sector. The growth in retail revenue, especially from restaurants and convenience stores, puts total retail sales at more than $98 billion last year.

This latest trend is further confirmation that beer continues to be the preferred alcohol beverage of Americans, and still enjoys the largest share of revenue and volume when compared to wine and hard liquor, the association said.

According to market research company Nielsen, the increase in sales revenue can be attributed to the high-end beer business. The sale of imports, crafts and above-premium beers sold off-premises was up nearly 3%.

"Beer continues to be the preferred alcohol beverage of Americans," said Joe McClain, president of the Beer Institute. "With sales exceeding $98 billion, the beer industry continues to enjoy the largest share of revenue and volume within the alcohol beverage sector when compared to wine and spirits. While many of our core consumers are still impacted by a slow economic recovery, we are pleased to see a bump in last year's retail sales, driven by high-end premium domestic and imported beers."

The total on-premise retail dollar sales increased more than 3% to exceed $55 billion in 2011. Off-premise retail sales also saw an uptick last year, growing slightly less than 1% to more than $43 billion.

"We are pleased to see retail sales grew last year. This positive trend is not only good news for brewers and importers, but also for the 900,000 men and women in this country whose jobs at supermarkets, convenience stores, restaurants, bars, stadiums, and other outlets are supported by beer sales. We look forward to another year of growth, crafting a product so many Americans love and having a positive economic impact in communities across America," said McClain.

According to the latest Beer Serves America study, the beer industry directly and indirectly supports approximately 1.8 million American jobs including those at our nation's 547,000 beer-selling retail establishments.

The Beer Institute, established in 1986, is the national trade association for the brewing industry, representing both large and small brewers, as well as importers and industry suppliers. The Institute is committed to the development of sound public policy and to the values of civic duty and personal responsibility.