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Alcohol Industry Not Recession-Proof

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The liquor industry experienced significant losses in revenue in 2008, with more people limiting their alcohol intake and fewer people drinking in bars and restaurants, the Associated Press reported Jan. 31.

Despite popular belief that the alcohol industry can weather tough economic times more than other businesses, the Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S. (DISCUS) said that the industry is not immune to difficult economic times. “It is absolutely not recession proof,” DISCUS President Peter Cressy said.

On-premise volume -– business in restaurants and bars –- fell 2.2 percent from last year, and off-premise volume –- business taking place in liquor stores –- increased by 2.9 percent from last year, according to DISCUS.

Drinking occasions appeared to decrease, as well, said David Ozgo, the group’s chief economist. “[People] still want to have a good time so a certain amount of those drinking occasions will be shifted to at-home,” he said.

DISCUS officials said they were not sure how the industry will fare in 2009. “If there were big, fast fluctuations [in the economy], that would be harmful. No question about that,” Cressy said. “If this economy slides into an even deeper recession the risk could be even greater.”

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