Latino Beer Sales Hint At Economic Recovery Among Hispanics

Beer bottling process in the Calavera craft brewery, on July 20, 2012, in Tlanepantla, Mexico State. Producers of handcrafted
Beer bottling process in the Calavera craft brewery, on July 20, 2012, in Tlanepantla, Mexico State. Producers of handcrafted beer make their way in Mexico following the emergence of new breweries in crowded neighborhoods of the capital and as large emporiums producing traditional brands such as Corona stopped being Mexican. AFP PHOTO/RONALDO SCHEMIDT (Photo credit should read Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP/GettyImages)

Unemployment for Latinos remains stubbornly high, but Hispanics are expressing confidence in the economy by dropping more money -- on beer.

Beer sales tanked after the 2008 economic crisis. The industry is still in a rut, growing just 2 percent last year, after shrinking the year before.

But brewers have seen sales of imported beers in the United States spike by 6.5 percent this year, according to The Financial Times. Latinos drink more imported beer than any other group, according to marketing research firm Mintel. So, the surge in imported beer sales has some industry insiders thinking Latinos are beginning to rebound economically. Latino, black and Asian consumers buy over half of the beer imported to the country, The Financial Times reports.

That trend isn’t lost on U.S. beer giants like Anheiser Busch, which bought up Mexico’s Grupo Modelo -- producer of Corona and other popular brands -- this summer for $20.1 billion.

As Anheuser-Busch’s Vice President of U.S. Marketing, Paul Chibe, told trade magazine BevNet:

More and more, consumers are looking for brands to be inclusive and connect with them on a cultural level … This shift in mindset has made multicultural marketing invaluable to our success, particularly with Hispanic beer drinkers, the fastest growing segment within the category.

As of last year, Bud Light remained the number one beer in the Latino market, followed by Corona, according to NPR.

The bump in Latino spending isn’t limited to beer, The Financial Times reports. Hispanics spend more at the grocery store than other ethnic groups, and food companies like Kraft, General Mills and PepsiCo are taking notice.

If rising beer purchases do actually translate to increased consumer confidence among Latinos, it may be good news for President Obama. In a series of ads this year, the Romney campaign hammered Obama for presiding over an economic crisis that, for some time, left more than 10 percent of Latinos unemployed. Luckily for the incumbent, that rate dropped to 9.9 percent last month, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That figure still outpaces unemployment for non-Hispanic whites, which sits at 7 percent.

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