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Big Brewers Take a Hit to the Gut as Americans Move Away From Beer

May 10, 2018, 9:54 AM UTC

Americans aren’t drinking beer like they used to.

AB InBev, Heineken, and Molson Coors have all reported significant drops in beer volume in the U.S. in the first quarter of this year. According to The Wall Street Journal, AB InBev (BUD) saw a 4.1% drop, Molson Coors (TAP-A) a 3.8% drop, and Heineken (HKHHF) saw a “high-single-digit percentage” drop.

The decline in sales is brought on both by consumers increasingly turning to other alcoholic beverages like whiskey and wine, and an overall falloff in alcohol consumption.

While the purchase of craft breweries by larger companies initially helped stave off a dip in sales, craft beer sales have begun to slow as well. Data acquired by The WSJ suggests that in 2006, 65% of alcohol consumed by 21- to 27- year-olds was beer, a percentage that dropped to 43% by 2016.

That has had an effect on beer’s share of the U.S. alcohol market more broadly as well. In 2010, beer constituted 48.2% of the market, dropping to 45.6% in 2017. Meanwhile, the market share of spirits has increased, from 29.6% in 2010 to 31.7% last year. Wine has remained steady, at 19.7%.