‘The Growing Thirst for Beer’

Everyone knows it – you and I spend too much money on beer.  We buy it in cans, bottles, kegs, even growlers.  Hell, we’d drink it from a boot if offered.  But wouldn’t it be nice if, instead of beer taking money from your wallet, it actually put some in?

That’s exactly what the financial wizards over at Oppenheimer Funds propose.  “While popular and ubiquitous in Europe, a strong taste for beer has been spreading to countries such as China, Brazil and other emerging markets.  This growing thirst for the pint coincides with expanding middle classes, which now have disposable income.”

These emerging market countries are drinking beer on a truly impressive scale.  Between 2004 and 2009, per capita beer consumption increased by 50.5% in Venezuela, 36.7% in China, 23.9% in Brazil, and 19.8% in Russia.  Conversely (as I noted last year), the developed world continues to drink less beer: over the same period, beer consumption decreased by 2.2% in the U.S., 5.7% in Germany, and 23.5% in Britain.

Brewing conglomerates are also noting these two trends and are taking a regional, even local, approach to expanding brewing operations to these fragile yet developing markets.  “Rather than simply flooding logistically difficult markets with premium beers made from expensive imported ingredients, these firms are increasingly investing in microbreweries and crafting beers from locally grown crops…In countries such as Uganda, Zimbabwe, and Swaziland, mega-brewer SABMiller uses the common Africa grain, sorghum, to brew its beer.”

Perhaps picking up a few shares of the mass-producing brewing corporations might put a little green in my wallet,  so I’ll consider buying shares of SABMiller.  But bottles of Miller Lite?  I’ll pass.

Published in: on January 10, 2012 at 11:54 am  Comments (1)  
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