Alcohol: A Recession-Proof Industry?

By Topher

When tough times hit, lots of people look for comfort in a bottle. This can often times lead to a DUI arrest or drunk driving accident.

In an economic recession, purveyors of booze may be in a unique position to thrive. You might know the best bars in town, but what do you know about the alcohol industry as a whole?

Alcohol: A Recession-Proof Industry

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Consumption and Sales

In 2010, about 67% of American adults drank alcohol.

In general, women prefer wine.

  • 48% of women prefer wine to beer or liquor.

In general, men prefer beer.

  • 54% of men prefer beer to wine or liquor.

However, in 2011, beer sales were down about 1.3% by volume.

  • Though, imported beer sales were up by 1%.

In 2009, alcohol sales reached $167,000,000,000.

  • $75,400,000,000 was on packaged beverages.
  • $91,600,000,000 was on drinks purchased and consumed away from home.

Overall sales percent increase for both stores and wholesalers for wine, beer, and liquor:

2007 2008 2009 2010
Stores 5.96% 2.00% 1.63% 5.47%
Wholesalers 7.22% 5.87% 4.78% 6.24%

From July 2010 to July 2011:

  • Stores = 6.08% increase
  • Wholesalers = 6.44% increase

Now that you have a better idea of the purchasing side of alcohol, and you’ve seen the growth wholesalers have experienced, what happens before alcohol gets to your local store or bar?

Production and Wholesale

In March 2012:

  • 18,182,366 gallons of wine were produced.
  • 17,165,152 barrels of beer were produced.
  • 993,101,022 proof gallons of distilled spirits were produced.
    • Brandy = 275,078
    • Rum, Gin, Vodka = 889,224
    • Whisky = 9,456,363
    • Alcohol (miscellaneous) = 982,480,357

Inc., a top business magazine, predicted that beer, wine, and liquor wholesale would be one of the best industries for starting a business in 2012.


  • The sale of alcohol at lower price points has risen recently.
  • Liquor, wine, and beer wholesalers’ profits have gone up by about 18%.


While the alcohol industry isn’t completely recession proof, Forbes has said it appears to be recession-resistant. 2011 was a big year of growth in several aspects of the industry, and this trend may only continue.

Remember, if you’re going to drink, don’t drink and drive. Not only could it lead to serious injury or death (of yourself or others), but it can also result in felony DUI or misdemeanor charges. – Bought to you by Total DUI.

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