Illinois Beer Consumption Drops: Should Beer Lovers Worry?
According to the Washington D.C.’s Beer Institute, Illinoisans are consuming less beer and the drop off is substantial. In 2007, the per capita consumption of beer in Illinois was 56 six-packs. Now, five years later, this consumption has dropped by 18 brews a year, to 53 six-packs. The drop off has government officials scrambling to find capital for various state projects and has pushed Illinois out of the top five states in the nation for beer shipments.
This downturn has left observers wondering what could have happened to cause such a drastic decline. Executive director of the Associated Beer Distributors of Illinois said, “We’re all aware of it, but I don’t know if there is any one factor to explain it.” He continued by saying that weather forecasts, and increased consumption of spirits could have affected beer sales during 2011. Manager of Gagne distributing, Paul Gagne, added, “factors like the down economy and a harsher winter all play a role.” Olsen also pointed out, “These things are sometimes cyclical.”
While the drop in Illinois beer sales could simply be part of a cyclical downswing, we can’t help but think it may be related to the craft beer movement. This drop in sales contradicts the growth we have seen in the market since the emergence of the craft beer movement, so at first glance it seems to indicate that the movement slowing down. However, the decrease could very well be from individuals drifting away from big beer –not craft beer. If this is the case, the downturn may actually be a good thing for craft beer, as consumers continue to abandon big beer for its more localized counterpart.
The decrease has severely affected Illinois’ state government, as Illinois is relying on beer sales to help finance a road, bridge and school construction program. The state raised the tax on beer to 23.1 cents in 2009, making the average citizen pay $6.67 annually, in an attempt to fund the program. This tax may be another reason behind the drop in consumption as beer has become more expensive.
While talk of a potential slowdown of the craft beer movement may have beer aficionados trembling, there are many potential reasons for Illinois’ drop in beer consumption, so don’t get too frightened. After all, it seems like the craft beer movement is alive and well.
Your Choice. Your Beer. Drink Up.