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Staggering Economy Hits Beer Sales

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The world’s second-largest brewing conglomerate said that sales unexpectedly slid in the third quarter of 2008, with the weakening global economy getting the blame, Fox News reported Jan. 16.

SABMiller said that beer sales fell 1 percent during the quarter ending Dec. 31, and announced that some jobs would be cut as the company — which owns such brands as Miller and Grolsch — faces “more uncertainties and risks” going forward. Beer sales in the U.S. had been rising about 1 percent annually.

“Consumer demand has been affected by the current global economic slowdown, and has continued to weaken in many of the group’s markets,” SABMiller said.

The beer industry has historically been more resistant to recession than other businesses, but SABMiller’s latest figures show that demand is down in the U.S. and Europe. In the U.S., for example, Miller Lite sales declined 7.5 percent compared to the same quarter in 2007. Growth in sales in developing nations also slowed. 

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