April 6/Norwalk, Conn./PRNewswire -- The recovering economy resulted in improved growth for beverage alcohol sales, but the impact was mixed among the liquor, wine and beer categories.  According to the Beverage Information Group's recently released Handbook Advance 2011, distilled spirits and wine saw positive results and continued to take share away from the beer category in 2010.  Also, retail sales' growth showed signs of recovery as consumers slowly returned to the "trading up" trend that dominated the industry prior to the recession.

Distilled spirits has shown steady growth over the past two years. In 2010, the category grew 2.1% to 192.7 million cases, making this the 13th consecutive year of positive growth.  In addition, on-premise consumption of distilled spirits showed a slight uptick, especially in the casual dining chains.

The wine category also posted strong positive results, particularly among domestic table wine.  Wine consumption increased 1.7% in 2010, up from 0.8% in 2009, to finish the year at 301.9 million 9-liter cases with domestics outpacing imports.  

"Wine sales continue to grow because of the wide range of products and increasing varietals available," according to Eric Schmidt, manager of Information Services for the Beverage Information Group, based in Norwalk, Conn.  "The millennial generation continues to be a target for wine marketers as they position their brands as affordable and fun."

Although total beer consumption declined 1.9% to 2.83 billion cases, imports returned to positive sales growth partially due to consumers returning to on-premise consumption as the economy recovered. Domestic beer consumption decreased 2.8% with all categories showing declines except the super-premium, craft and FMB category, which continued to post positive results due to the success of the craft beer segment.  

From the April 7, 2011, Prepared Foods' Daily News