At the annual members-only meeting of the Beer Institute, a US lobbying group, the beer industry assessed its future as it deals with a new administration, taxes, and a looming global recession.
If you’re betting against beer based on the next administration, think again. The Beer Institute sees benefits in each candidate (Reuters):
“On one hand, Republicans tend to be low-tax,” said Jeffrey Becker, the Beer Institute’s president. “On the other hand, Democrats brought us out of Prohibition and have a better appreciation for low- to middle-income wage earners than generally Republicans do.”…
He takes no comfort in the fact that Cindy McCain, wife of the presumption Republican president nominee, Arizona Sen. John McCain, is in the business.
She is the chairman of Hensley and Co, a family business that is one of Anheuser-Busch Cos Inc’s (BUD) largest U.S. distributors. Becker said the relationship could make McCain give the beer industry a wider berth.
As far as taxes go, they, of course, will be fighting for lower ones (good luck with that) and believe the current system is unfair :
The Beer Institute says federal excise taxes on beer, which are about 33 cents per six-pack, unfairly target lower-income groups that make up the bulk of beer drinkers. Taxes make up about 42 per cent of the cost of a beer, Becker said.
However, it’s clearly not a bad time to be a brewer. While consumers are trading down to cheaper beers, convential wisdom has largely held true, beer has remained recession-resistant, up to a point:
He predicted the U.S. beer industry would see sales grow “a little bit over 1 per cent” in 2008.
“While it doesn’t sound very dramatic for some people, it’s very good for us.”