Australians don’t like beer anymore?

The popularity of imported beers and cider is making it increasingly difficult for Australian brewers to stay afloat.

The high Australian dollar has greatly impacted the alcoholic beverage market, as it has spurred increased travel abroad and increased online shopping in the sector.

The Australian Financial Review reports that domestic premium sales headed south by more than 20 per cent in November, while sales of international premium beers was up almost 15 per cent.

In the year prior to November, international beers including Peroni and Corona were up 12.7 per cent and domestic premiums like Crown Lager and James Boag slumped 11.2 per cent.

The figures represent packaged liquor sales, primarily from bottle shops.

Australians are also turning to more alternatives to beer, with sales down 16 per cent and while cider sales surged, up a massive 53 per cent.

The news comes as Australia’s biggest local brewer gears up to mark the company’s 150th anniversary in May.

Coopers became the largest remaining Australian beer company when London-based SABMiller took over Foster’s in September after months of disputes between the two about the value of the company.

Just before the takeover, Foster’s chairman David Crawford called on shareholders to reject SABMiller’s bid of $4.90 per share because it “significantly undervalued” the company.

Coopers is also feeling the pinch on local beer sales, with its domestic premium beer sales down 0.6 per cent in November.

However the year as a whole was successful for the brewer, with sales up 1.3 per cent in 2011 and Coopers currently represents 4 per cent of all beer sales in Australia.

In August it announced plans to install machinery to double its brewing capacity and in 2005, survived a hostile takeover bid from Lion Nathan, saying it will always be an Australian-owned company.


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