Many beer drinkers have begun noticing mass market brewers like Anheuser-Busch/Michelob, Miller Brewing Company and even Samuel Adams on a “craft kick” as of late. Brewers are trying to improve relatively flat growth by raising the consumer eye towards new craft beers, these beers are supposed to be more like “dad used to make” compared to the everyday Budweiser, Michelob Ultra, High Life and Boston’s Lager.
These big companies are hoping to persuade beer drinkers to try something top shelf which looks, smells and tastes a bit like home brewed beer. The advantages these large breweries have over local microbreweries is the money and resources to make a great tasting beer. But, the introduction of these craft beers come just as the economy goes, will they survive?
Historically, beer has always survived economic down turns and even inspired Roosevelt to do something unheard of in 1933 during Prohibition. Franklin Roosevelt signed into law an amendment to the Volstead Act known as the Cullen-Harrison Act, allowing the manufacture and sale of certain alcoholic beverages. Roosevelt knew taxation of alcohol would invigorate the economy during times of the Great Depression.
Today, we’re in our own economic slowdowns and Whiskey sales are up 13%. Hard alcohol is one thing, but can craft brew recipes like Amber Bock, Honey Porter, Stouts and Scotch Ales survive layoffs, salary cuts and general unemployment? Considering the high degree of HD TV sales during the holiday season what’s a few six packs of beer?
The shortage of hops and barely may raise the price of alcohol a few cents, but in the grand scheme of life, we will probably be looking forward to higher taxes overshadowing the raised pricing on beer ingredients. The government is planning to hand over billions of dollars to car manufacturers, financial institutions and any industry threatening to layoff millions of workers – we’re going to need to get our money somewhere.
Overall, craft beers may inspire old mass market bud, mich ultra and coors drinkers to try something a bit different. These beers will not be as intense as a true microbrew but they’re a great gateway beer to something a bit more flavorful and savory. Consumers may opt to spend a few dollars more for something with more complexity or they may be turned off by the dramatic changes in flavors and go back to purchasing the same beer they’ve had for years, leaving mass market brewers with flat sales yet again.