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Tough economy leads to change in drinking habits

Hey bartender!  Set me up.  Gimme a scotch, will ya. Neat.
Ok….that will be $10 bucks, sir.

barscene_optClearly, going out on the town for a drink isn’t what it used to be.

A growing number of consumers are spurning drinking in restaurants and bars to save money. They're also choosing less expensive beer, wine and liquor to take home. Some are even trading down from wine and spirits to beer, which typically costs less.

Sales of liquor, wine and beer meant to be consumed at home are now expected to rise 4.8 percent this year to $79 billion, according to Mintel International Group. The Chicago-based research firm recently had to revise its 2009 forecast to keep up with how quickly people are changing their behavior. Mintel expects this to be the first year since at least 2003 that Americans cut their spending on alcohol in bars and restaurants. Alcohol sales in bars and restaurants are forecast to drop 1.2 percent to $54.2 billion.

So it's not that we're drinking any less; spending during the recession is just shifting to stores. Already in the 12 months ending in February, Americans spent 7.2 percent more on wine at food, drug and mass-merchandise stores than they did in the same period a year earlier, according to a Nielsen survey.

ALCOHOL SALES ARE DOWN IN BARS

 

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