Drinking during a slow economy

You can’t get away from the reminders of a slow economy these days. Rising gas and food prices, job cuts and the mortgage mess are constant headlines. While many Americans have curbed their spending, it seems that alcohol sales have remained strong. CNN.com recently wrote an interesting article that talks about how the economy affects people’s drinking habits.

Despite lagging sales in other categories, alcohol sales seem to be up in many areas of the country. Connecticut reports that the taxes it collects on sales of alcoholic beverages are up 4.7%  for the fiscal year that ended in June. Pennsylvania also reported that sales of wine and liquor are up 4.7% for the 11 months ending in May, to $1.63 billion.

Says Danny Brager of The Nielsen Company, “A lot of consumers would still consider alcoholic beverages as an affordable indulgence.” According to Nielsen, more than 80% of people said they were spending the same amount on alcohol they were a year ago or more.

It seems that Americans would rather shift their drinking habits rather than give up alcohol all together. People are turning to less expensive options – giving up top-shelf liquor or imported beer, for example. And if the domestic beer costs too much to drink at the bar, then they’ll simply buy a 6 pack and bring it home to drink.

The article does point out that drinking habits can significantly change during “a persistent economic downturn.” While the wealthy may still be able to afford to drink, poorer consumers are the first to cut back their drinking.

In the meantime, American brewers like Budweiser are sure to reap the benefits of a slow economy.

Read the full article, “Drinking habits and the economy”

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