Beer Trade Group Sizes Up Rival Beverages

The Beer Institute, which includes Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors representatives, meets in New York City this week amid flagging beer shipment volumes. MillerCoors CEO Tom Long told Advertising Age that companies need to work together to beat nonbeer competitors. Wine consumption has been increasing the past couple of decades.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And today's last word in business is: drink more beer, please.

That's the message of the Beer Institute. The institute will be meeting this week in New York City; people there trying to figure out how to get you to drink a little more beer. The industry trade group includes representatives from Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors. And their meeting comes with some stress in the beer world. Beer shipment volumes have been down for three straight years, through 2011.

And ahead at the beer industry meeting this week, MillerCoors CEO Tom Long told Advertising Age that companies need to work together to beat non-beer competitors. Wine consumption apparently, has been increasing the last couple of decades. People still more on beer than wine, but it has been a long time since beer was the center of alcoholic attention. So, let's go out on a sound from a better time for beer.

(SOUNDBITE OF AD)

UNIDENTIFIED PEOPLE: (Singing) Come on everybody, Bud Light's got a brand new dance. Spuds McKenzie's going to do it. There's nothing to it, the Bud Light Slide. Just get up and slide.

INSKEEP: That's the sound of a commercial featuring Spuds McKenzie, the dog in Bud Light ads in the late '80s. Also in that classic ad, by the way, lots of shoulder pads, neon clothes, teased hairdos.

We do not know if the beer industry is going to bring any of that back and have to sell more beer now. But they are saying that they want to promote beer as the drink of moderation.

That's the business news on MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

(SOUNDBITE OF AD)

UNIDENTIFIED PEOPLE: (Singing) To the Bud Light Slide...

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