While no product or service is completely recession proof, nothing helps dull the threat of a total economic disaster quite like a cold pint of beer. But the much talked about recession-resistant alcohol industry isn’t exactly swimming in record profits.
After one of the most dramatic years in the beer business, most 2008 revenue numbers are less than stellar. Brewers are battling not only each other, but a global slump in the consumption of alcohol. One of the only bright spots is the craft brewers of the US. According to the Brewers Association, from 2007 to 2008 sales by craft brewer (some 1,400 strong) were up nearly 6% and total sales increased from about $5.7 billion to $6.3 billion.
On this St. Patrick’s Day as many people hoist a pint of ale, the editors at
1. Molson Coors – (2008 net income $388 million; 2008 sales $4.8 billion) The maker of such brands as Coors and Molson raised its beer prices in 2008 but reported lower profits.
2. SABMiller – (2008 net income $2.8 billion; 2008 sales $29.5 billion) The Miller brewer is looking to cut costs this year in order to boost sales and beat competitors.
3. GRUPO MODELO ‑ The Mexican maker of
4. Anheuser-Busch InBev – (2008 net income $1.6 billion; 2008 sales $20.2 billion) In November, the Belgium-based InBev bought Anheuser-Busch for $52 billion. The deal created the world’s largest beer company. The maker of beloved beers such as Bud Light, Stella
5. The Boston Beer Company – (2008 net income $8.1 million; 2008 sales $398.4 million;). With less than 1% of beer sales in the US, Boston Beer Company is now the nation’s leading independent brewer. Boston Beer makes more than 21 types of beer and seasonal ales including Sam Adams lager.
6. Anchor Brewing Company – (2008 sales $4.2 million est.) The maker of Anchor Steam, Anchor Bock, and Liberty Ale sells some 86,000 barrels a year. The San Francisco-based company is one of the country’s top small craft brewers, along with others such as