Beer biz got tuffer last 6 mos or so, nearly everyone agrees. So what changed? What gives? In recent conversation with one industry expert, we easily came up with as many as 10 reasons potentially affecting short-term trends. With improvement later in yr, we agreed, things could still shake out more or less the same as last 3 yrs (that is, up a skosh). So here goes.
Two longer term issues remain at top of our list: wine and spirits still winning and growth of taproom biz not fully recorded. But did either of those become bigger factor? Hard to know. As mentioned above, calendar effects net out negative in 1st qtr 2017, so that’s a factor in recent trends. Gas prices way up, likely another. The rest are theories. So we’ll pose ’em as questions. Do rising public health criticisms and increased negative press on alcohol suppress consumption? Is there more of a January effect, i.e the tendency to take Jan off from alcohol consumption? Does legal marijuana mean less disposable income for beer? With people buying more of their groceries online, does that reduce impulse purchases of beer? Did the recent election deplete or exhaust people’s appetite for alcohol combined with social interaction? Are people simply going out less to traditional establishments? Tote it all up and perhaps it’s surprising that trends are only a little bit worse. But whatever the reasons, it’s making biz tuffer for everybody.