Sales of beer in kegs more than halved in the United States in the first half of this year. While beer in bottles increased by 2.78 million hl (+3.2%,), beer in kegs lost -4.6 million hl (-51.4%) and beer destined for export also went down - 0.9 million hl (-31.9%), according to data released on Tuesday by the U.S. Treasury Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.
The numbers clearly indicate that consumption of beer has switched from bars and restaurants, which were partly closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, to home consumption. The lower export figures show a reduced overall consumption but also reduced travels during the pandemic as exported beer is often consumed by a country’s own tourists abroad. This is also reflected by sales of beer geared for drinking in cruise ships and on aircrafts which fell sharply by 82.4% (-341 hl).
Overall volume beer sales declined by 3.2 million hl (-3.1%) while total production went down even more by 3.9 million hl (-3.6%).
“The fact that it’s not down more is a blessing,” says Lester Jones, chief economist at the National Beer Wholesalers Association. “It’s a beer mug half full rather than empty,” he was quoted by Bloomberg.