- The cost of buying beer at bars is dropping, according to US Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
- The average price of beer away from home over the past six months dropped by 0.5%, the first six-month period of lower average prices since 1997.
- Beer giants have struggled to win over millennials and Gen Z as younger drinks switch to wine and spirits, or ditch alcohol altogether.
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Love beer? Good news: The cost of buying a pint at a bar is dropping.
Over the past six months, the average price of beer, ale, and other malt beverages away from home has dropped 0.5%, according to US Bureau of Labor Statistics data. This marks the first six-month period since 1997, when the US government began tracking the category’s Consumer Price Index, that the cost of beer in bars and restaurants has dropped instead of growing.
The drop has been especially stark recently. As noted on Twitter by Connor Tee, this May saw the largest month-over-month drop in the series history, with average prices dropping by 0.7%.
weakest cpi print for beer away from home in the series history. cocktails ascendant pic.twitter.com/LJvVZU3TnW
— doug tee (@dougtee) June 12, 2019
The drop doesn’t mean that beer prices are cheaper than they’ve ever been – just that the average price has returned roughly to October 2018 levels.
However, the first six-month drop in more than two decades for the category highlights beer giant’s struggles to win over millennials and Gen Z.
In 2018, global beer volume dropped by 2.2%, as sales of mixed drinks, gin, and whiskey grew, according to IWSR Drinks Market Analysis data released in May. In the US, beer sales by volume dropped by 1.6%.
Beer giants have struggled to win over younger people, who are drinking less beer and drinking less in general than older generations. A 2018 report from Berenberg Research found that respondents in their teens and early 20s were drinking over 20% less per capita than millennials did at their age. And, millennials already were known to drink less than baby boomers and Gen Xers did at the same age.
Industry leaders, such as AB InBev CEO Carlos Brito, have pointed to millennials’ growing interest in health and wellness to explain their move away from beer, as well as their growing appreciation for lower-alcohol options. As states across the US legalize weed, Gen Zers and millennials are more likely than older generations to favor marijuana over booze. And, social media-savvy individuals are seeking control in the face of constant social-media surveillance by cutting back on alcohol consumption.