Consumer Nation

Six Pack: Beer Buzz of the Week

Six things that have consumers buzzing in the world of beer, wine and spirits this week:

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A Bummer Week for Beer: Two studies this week highlighted a recent trend in the beer category, a downward one. While craft beer continues to grow, it can’t make up for an overall decline in the beer category. Technomic’s BeerTABreport showed a 1.3 percent decline in overall beer volume in 2011 while the Beverage Information Group reported the same 1.3 percent decline in its 2012 Beer Handbook. 

You’re Gonna Wash That Ale Right Outta Your Hair: Overall beer consumption may be on the decline, but perhaps one area of growth may be hair care. A growing number of companies are introducing beer shampoos and U.S. News and World Report looked into the beer shampoo business this week. U.S. News spoke with celebrity hairstylist Francky L'Official, who “works with clients like Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Mena Suvari, and Vanessa Minnillo.” According to L’Official beer “gives [hair] body and makes it shiny and bouncy.” Also this week, Evan Benn, who covers the beer beat for the St. Louis Post Dispatch and Esquire Magazine, did his best George Plimpton impersonation and shampooed with “Broo”, a beer shampoo for a week.  His take: “After a week of shampooing with Broo Citrus Pale Ale, I'm a believer.”

Maine Beer Growth:  These are boom times for the craft beer industry and the brewing industry in Maine is riding the wave. Home to brewers such as DL Geary's, Shipyard and Allagash, the state has seen its beer production increase more than 50 percent in the last few years according to statistics released by the Liquor Licensing and Inspection Unit of the Maine Department of Public Safety. Output has increased to 6.4 million gallons, up from 4.1 million in 2009.

Mon Dieu! Brooklyn Brewery Arrives in France: Brooklyn Brewery products are not available in many parts of the United States, but you can add France to the growing list of European countries where the beer is served. In a post on, the brewery says it recently received word from the owner of Joe Allen Bar and Restaurant in Paris, a famous American ex-pat establishment, announcing that Brooklyn Brewery East India Pale Ale is now on tap. France is the latest European nation to offer Brooklyn Brewery beer, which is the thirteenth largest craft brewer by sales volume according to the most recent numbers by the Brewers Association. 15 percent of all Brooklyn Brewery beer is exported overseas, with two of the brewery's top three markets being located overseas. The company's top 5 markets:

  1. New York
  2. Sweden
  3. United Kingdom
  4. New Jersey
  5. Massachusetts

The reason for Brooklyn’s European is simply a matter of logistics: it’s easier to ship kegs overseas than it is to truck them across the United States.

Lost Oktoberfest: Oktoberfest is currently underway and when six million people get together to drink over seven million liter-sized mugs of beer, there are going to be some lost items.  A lot of them.  According to Agence France-Presse, 4,900 items were lost at Oktoberfest in 2011. Among the wayward objects: a megaphone, a dog, a Viking helmet and five wedding rings.  It turns out that four out of five items are never claimed.  “We’ve seen everything. People have lost wallets with thousands of euros, diamond engagement rings, all sorts of valuable stuff,” Mike Mueller, the head of the lost-and-found told the AFP.  The most commonly lost items? Keys, jackets, mobile phones and wallets.

Will Tea Spark a Craft Beer Boom in China?:  While craft beer is hit with consumers here at home, in China the craft beer segment is still a work in progress. Now an analyst at Euromonitor International says the key to craft beer growth may be…tea. According to BeverageDaily,com, mixing tea into scotch helped the single malt scotch category take off in China.  Now analyst Spiro Malandrakis says Yunnan Amber, a collaborative beer by Beijing’sGreat Leap Brewing and Shanghai’s Boxing Cat Brewery — which is infused with black tea — may provide the same spark to craft beer.  

-By Tom Rotunno, CNBC Senior Editor

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