Alcoholic Beverages Are the Toast of the Townhttp://www.fool.com/investing/general/2012/10/11/alcoholic-beverages-are-the-toast-of-the-town.aspx Rich Duprey
October 11, 2012
It used to be a maxim of markets that when the economy was down, so-called "sin stocks" were up. People would drink more and smoke more, so shares of Budweiser parent Anheuser-Busch InBev (NYSE: BUD ) would go up, as would the stock of cigarette maker Altria.
These days, though, that's not always the case. For alcoholic beverages, while volumes across the board may be higher, individual brands don't necessarily see the same increase. Mass producers like Budweiser and Molson Coors (NYSE: TAP ) have seen the craft brewing phenomenon steal market share, despite it accounting for a relatively small percentage of the overall industry. Yet even Boston Beer's (NYSE: SAM ) Samuel Adams brand, which arguably launched the craft brewing craze, has suffered from lackluster sales as more shelf space is dedicated to an ever-growing list of local beers.
It signals a level of maturity in the industry that Boston Beer and rival Yuengling can duke it out for king of craft-brewed beer, pushing the boundaries of the "craft" definition, but the former also understands it's confronting a market of changing tastes. That's why you'll find its hard cider and hard teas among the fastest-growing segments it has, and both MillerCoors and Anheuser-Busch have acquired hard-cider makers of their own.
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