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U.S. consumers are gearing up to kick off the summer season with Memorial Day celebrations - and plenty of beer, according to The Nielsen Company.
The global information and media company said yesterday that is expects U.S. consumers to purchase more than 21 million cases, or $381 million, worth of beer in major supermarkets during the two weeks surrounding the Memorial Day holiday, a beer party second only to the July 4 holiday.
Nielsen also said the two weeks surrounding Memorial Day represents approximately five percent of annual beer sales on a volume basis. It's the start of a big beer season; nearly 35 percent, or one-third of annual beer sales, occur during the summer, and 50 percent of all beer sold during the summer is premium beer.
Nielsen said Millennial consumers (21 - 30 year olds) show a preference for beer, with beer representing the majority (47 percent) of their spending, compared to spirits (27 percent) and wine (26 percent). Millennials are more likely to experiment with different beer types and flavors than older generations. While domestic premium beers are still their dominant choice, Millennials are much more inclined than older consumers to purchase imported beers or craft beers.
"Summer is a hot time for beer retailers," said Nick Lake, vice president, client service, Beverage Alcohol, The Nielsen Company. "Beer is popular with consumers during the Memorial Day holiday and summer as it is generally more portable than wine or spirits, making it easier to take to outdoor parties, picnics and barbeques. Beer retailers can take advantage of this opportunity by understanding what types of beer their consumers are looking for and promoting a well-stocked selection of beer in their stores."