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Analyst says beer sales may increase.

Analyst says beer sales may increase

An unanticipated increase in beer sales in 1990 may herald a period of growth for the brewing industry, according to an industry consultant at the 6th Annual Ryder Truck Rental Beverage Industry Forum held recently.

Robert Weinberg, a marketing research consultant to several brewers, said that while most industry observers predict the brewing industry will continue to grow slowly over the next 10 years, unexpected increases in the volume of beer delivered in 1990 may suggest a more pronounced period of growth.

"Last year saw huge sales gains--three million barrels--that no one expected," Weinberg stated. "And there is no good explanation for it. Some experts look to the federal excise tax, which was enacted January 1991, and the possibility that wholesalers may have increased their orders in late 1990 to beat the tax. While it is a factor, it can't account for three million barrels."

Instead, Weinberg suggested that the gain may be due, in part, to beer's new status as the "beverage of moderation. If this is happening," Weinberg continued, "beer will capture numerous |drinking opportunities' from wine and spirits, cutting into their sales."

Among industry trends, Weinberg predicted that new products will continue to capture market share from more traditional brands. "In 1989, more than one-third of all beer sold was accounted for by brands introduced since the mid-1970s. As traditional brands mature, you'll see more new products which continue to interest beer drinkers," Weinberg said. "Many of the new brews will be positioned as members--often light or cold-filtered versions--of traditional brand families."

Weinberg added that the industry's growth of new products will prompt brewers to adopt more formal marketing strategies. "Because developing and introducing new products is expensive and unpredictable, brewers are going to have to invest in cohesive strategies to position new products," Weinberg continued. "If they don't, they are going to spend a lot of money launching numerous products that cannibalize one another."
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Title Annotation:marketing research consultant Robert Weinberg
Publication:Modern Brewery Age
Date:May 20, 1991
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