Emerging economies are helping push up sales of wine, beer and spirits worldwide. The world’s No. 1 beer isn’t what you think.
Does thinking back on the past year make you reach for a drink? You’re not alone. Worldwide, sales of alcoholic beverages soared in 2012.
Part of the reason alcohol sales are booming, according to analysts, is that stronger economies in emerging markets have given consumers there a bit more discretionary income — which they’re spending on drink, and on beer in particular.
This year was a stellar one for the big brewers. Four corporate megabrewers reportedly produced almost half of the world’s beer: Anheuser-Busch Inbev — which recently acquired Groupo Modelo, maker of Corona — SABMiller, Heineken N.V. and Carlsberg A/S.
The world’s biggest consumer of suds is China, which downs more than 7.39 billion gallons annually, says ValueWalk.com. China’s beer market grew by 29% in volume between 2006 and 2011, according to DrinksBusiness.com. And the world’s best-selling beer? China’s Snow brand, a joint venture of SABMiller and China Resources, which reportedly sold around 52 million barrels in 2011.
Bud Light and Budweiser came in second and third on the global bestsellers list, with a combined 84 million barrels sold.
Sales of adult beverages in the U.S. increased in 2011 and will continue to rise, according to a study by restaurant research firm Technomic.
Technomic’s 2012 BarTAB (Trends in Adult Beverage) report showed that sales of beer, wine and spirits in restaurants increased 4.9 percent in 2011, reaching $93.7 billion and are trending up for 2012 and 2013.
One reason for that sales growth and its predicted continuation may be pent-up demand left over from the recession, said Technomic senior director Donna Hood Crecca. “Now that we’re into the recovery and consumer confidence is improving, they’re giving in and going for that affordable indulgence,” she said.
According to the report, one third of consumers say that alcoholic beverages at a restaurant influence their decision to go there, meaning that adult drinks are becoming a competitive differentiator. “Operators are also doing a great job promoting [drinks],” Crecca added. “They’re doing beer dinners and tequila dinners. That generates excitement among consumers.”