Good Times Or Bad – It’s All About The Beer!
Posted by Bob Skilnik on October 30, 2008
Everytime there’s an economic bump or slump, a reporter gets the brilliant idea of talking to some beer marketing personnel about beer sales and how a downturn will affect beer sales. Usually the arguments contradict each other, with one view being that premium or super-premium beers will fall and we’ll all run out and start stocking up on 30-pack suitcases of Busch Ice…they other being that the super-premiums will keep selling, maybe not with the kind of “gusto” you might see in times of prosperity, but beer drinkers will still buy their favorite brands with no compromising. I always have the feeling, however, that at least one side is bloviating while trying to justify why he or she’s latest “brilliant” ad campaign isn’t working.
I received an e-mail from a brewer down in New Zealand, and while it’s the other side of the world as far as I’m concerned, living outside of Chicago, it takes the experiences of beer drinkers so many miles away to prove a point that I’ve always known; rich or poor, I’ll be drinking what I always drink. It’s not like I’m being forced to decide whether or not I should buy a Ford Taurus or a new and tricked-out 4-door Mercedes.
“While people may think twice about large purchases like cars and white goods, affordable luxuries like premium beer tend to remain popular,” notes a spokesman from Lion Nathan, proving my analogy above.
We’re talking about beer.
- Beer sales thrive in downturns
- Consumption even up on 1987’s Black Monday
- Sales not subject to sudden movements
IF your shattered share portfolio has left you a little dispirited, here’s an investment opportunity almost guaranteed to produce solid returns in the bleak months ahead – beer.
A 30-year study of Australian beer sales tracked against the Westpac Consumer Confidence Survey has unearthed compelling evidence beer sales don’t merely survive recessions, they thrive on them.
The graph, which has been used by the industry for investor presentations in recent months, shows beer sales starting in January 1975 gliding effortlessly above the turbulence of wages decline in the late 1970s, the recession of the early 1990s and the Asian meltdown of 1998.
In fact, soon after the Black Monday share market collapse of October 1987, the beer graph gently rises, indicating an increase in consumption lasting about five years.
It’s only after the unpleasant business of the recession and Gulf War-inspired oil spikes is complete that the graph returns to its gentle, if slightly downward trajectory.
Foster’s brewers confirm sale figures from as late as September this year show beer drinkers appear blissfully unaware the globe is in the grasp of a once-in-a-100-year financial catastrophe.
And thanks to;
CEO Westcoast Brewing Ltd
who has also added nutritional information about his beers in my latest book, “Does My Butt Look Big In This Beer?” I have to also remark here that it’s a bit bewildering that I can get the cooperation of someone I don’t know who owns a brewery in New Zealand and who was so helpful in providing me with information for my upcoming book. In the meantime, some of the bigger micro and regional breweries refuse to even answer my e-mails or the form boxes on their own websites that say something like “Ask The Brewer!” but won’t answer my questions. Why put an “Ask The Brewer” section on your site if you refuse to answer a simple question or two.
On the other hand, some of the brewers who gave me a hard time a few years ago when I was writing “The Low Carb Bartender” have come around and have been wonderfully cooperative. To all of them, I tip my hat, but for rest of them, remember this; when the e-mails start coming in to me when the book comes online and readers ask why I don’t have the information about your brewery and its beers – their favorite beers – I’ll simply tell them that you apparently don’t care about what they’re looking for in a beer and that there are hundreds of other breweries who were wonderfully cooperative.
Why not try one of their beers? They care.