US: Domestics lose out as beer market continues slow growth

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In 2001 the beer industry has registered its sixth consecutive year of growth in the US, despite the difficult market conditions according to the Adams Beverage Group in its 2002 Adams Beer Handbook. However growth was at the slowest rate in the past four years.

Consumption of beer was up or 0.6% to 2.8 billion 2.25-gallon cases in 2001, the slowest growth rate in four years. The increase was driven by imported beers and micro breweries/speciality beer, which registered 8.8% and 9.6% growth rates respectively. Light beer was also up 2.9%.

However, sales of domestic fell for the first time in four years, down 0.3%. And, premium beer also dropped, down 4.1%. Popular beers were down 6.3%, malt liquor was down 8.7%, and ice products were down 4.8%.

The Adams Beverage Group sorted the categories by type of beer and price. The super premium category includes beers such as Michelob, Sam Adams, Sierra Nevada, and various regional and microbrew brands. The premium category includes domestic beers such as Budweiser, Miller Genuine Draft, Original Coors. The popular category, which is a price category, includes Busch, Keystone, Milwaukee's Best, Old Milwaukee and Miller Highlife. The malt liquor category includes the traditional higher-proof beers, such as Colt 45, and the ice category includes Icehouse, Natural Ice, Bud Ice and Miller Lite Ice.

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