Friday, July 31, 2009

Normal and Inferior Beer

Speaking of macrobrewing...

And so it come to pass: sales of beers like Bud, Corona and Miller are falling precipitously, while sales of beers like Busch and Keystone are up. Inferior goods are goods for which demand rises when incomes fall. Of course these infoerior beers are made by the same folks that make the normal stuff, so there is no reason for the beer companies themselves to be hurting.

I keep getting mixed reports about how craft beer is doing. I know anecdotally that some company's sales are soaring, like Ninkasi (proving that there is justice in the world) whole some are struggling. The question is, do consumers of craft beer think of it as distinct from macro lagers (as I do) or just a bit better? In economics terms, how close a subsitiute are macro lagers to craft beers (especially ales)?

At any rate, the recession is proabably a prime motivator behind the 'session' beers that are now becoming popular with craft brewers. I would be interested to know, for example how Full Sail's Session sales are doing compared to its regular line-up. My guess is pretty well since they just introduced a second Session.

None of my attempts to collect data to answer this question have yielded any fruit, so we can only wonder...

Anyway, my advice: if you are 'trading down,' go for the Session and skip the Keystone.

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