Wednesday, March 19, 2008

From Luxist:

"Our faltering economy is starting to hit the cocktail culture. MarketWatch reports that while alcohol manufacturers usually do just fine in a tough economy, bars and nightclubs may find themselves in trouble. As the purse strings tighten people tend to opt for drinking at home versus spending their cash on pricey bar cocktails. Currently liquor is still seen as an affordable luxury, it is far easier to buy top shelf booze than a top-of-the-line car, but that may change over time. As we've mentioned before on this website, the current economic climate is having more of an effect on the middle of the wealth spectrum rather than the upper end. Therefore casual dining restaurants are feeling more of the pain thus far and the bar tab makes up a significant portion of each sale. Brand loyalty will protect many labels especially in the cases of people who have ordered the same drink for years.

Wine Spirits Daily has also been on the case trying to predict what will happen to the various liquor ranges. Most of the people in the industry that they surveyed believe that the $20 to $30 "premium" spirits are probably safe but the "ultra premium" bottles that are in the $50+ range might not be so appealing as the aspirational consumer starts to pare down. Most feel certain that the middle range of the market will remain safe. One of their respondents echoed the concerns expressed in the MarketWatch article that where people drink may change more than what people drink. Most people, regardless of the economy, won't be willing to give up their cocktails but if they can get them for cheaper they will."



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