Beer Backlash: How to Invest

Beer is losing its popularity in comparison to alternatives and investors can benefit from the trend by buying spirit stocks like Diageo and Pernod Richard, analysts told

"There is an obvious trend away from mass-market beers and lagers to other parts of the alcohol sector like alcopops (flavored alcoholic beverages) and wine," John Cox, head of food and beverages at Landsbanki Kepler, told

"It's a health concern … beer is perceived as not that good for you and wine is perceived as being less bad for you," Rob Mann, consumer goods analyst at Collins Stewart, told

The shift away from beer is benefiting certain spirit producers and Diageo and Pernod Richard are good picks, Mann said.

Diageo's stable of alcoholic brands includes Smirnoff vodka, Jonnie Walker whisky and Captain Morgan spiced rum and shares of the FTSE-listed company have surged over 14 percent since the start of August, recovering most of the year's declines.

Pernod Richard, the CAC-40 company that recently took over the Vin & Sprit wine company, has only seen a gain of about 7 percent since the start of August, as a recent slump battered the stock. The Dow Jones Food and Drink Index gained a little more than 9 percent in the same period.

Sharon Lorimer

Spirit-related stocks may be a good way to invest in drinks while avoiding exposure to a slowdown in beer sales, but investors should be wary of wine and alcopop producers, Mann said.

The recent proliferation of wine producers means that some companies -- notably Jacob's Creek maker Orlando wines -- are pushing to sell large volumes at lower prices, he added.

"The economics of wine have always been challenging," Mann added.

"Alcopops are dangerous territory as they tend to appeal to the younger consumer," Mann said.

That subjects them to possible legislation and taxing as governments attempt to crack down on underage drinking.