Money Minute: Beer Sales Going Flat; U.S. Energy Independence Grows

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Beer sales are going flat. That and more top money stories you need to know.

Beer consumption has been steadily declining over the past few years, with drinkers giving the cold shoulder to some very well-known brand names. According to an industry newsletter, sales of nine major brands have tumbled 25 percent over the past five years. Craft beers continue to steal market share, and consumers are increasingly switching to wine and liquors.

Beer signs in neon in liquor store window
Visions of America/UIG via Getty Images
Over that five year period, Michelob Light has been the hardest hit, losing 70 percent of its sales. Other big losers include Budweiser Select, Miller Genuine Draft, Milwaukee's Best Premium and Light, and Budweiser (BUD).

We have more signs that the U.S. is moving closer to energy independence. The government says domestic production of natural gas is at its highest level in at least four years, boosted by increased fracking. As a result, imports are likely to decline. However, that could mean natural gas prices could rise.

Here on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) fell 52 points Tuesday, the (^GPSC) lost 6 and tthe Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) dropped 8 points.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAC) -- the sponsor of this report -- remains bullish about stocks, despite the big run-up over the past few years. The brokerage firm's top equity analyst expects the S&P 500 to hit 2,000 next year. That's up 11 percent from current levels.

Shares of MasterCard (MA) could charge ahead. The company declared an unusual 10-for-1 stock split, raised its dividend payment by 83 percent, and said it will buy back up to $3.5 billion in stock. It's a sign of management's confidence the company will continue to grow. MasterCard trades at nearly 800 a share, up 59 percent from a year ago.

And it's the fifth anniversary of the arrest of Bernie Madoff. He later pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 150 years in prison for a Ponzi scheme that bilked thousands of investors out of billions of dollars.

-Produced by Drew Trachtenberg.


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20 Comments

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mlaurel58

"cold beer and lots of it"...Words to live by.

December 11 2013 at 3:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Al

I used to be able to buy a bottle for a buck - now it's $3. Reason given for the increase - the rise of corn prices. Now corn is back to where it was but guess what - no cut in beer prices.

December 11 2013 at 3:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ddstan1120

I, for one, am trying to keep Milwaukee afloat.

December 11 2013 at 3:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
benplhrs743

great poison our water so we will buy more beer

December 11 2013 at 2:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ctheleroys

If people can NOT afford food how will they buy beer??

December 11 2013 at 2:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mom and Dad

Go ahead, keep raising the price and see how much flatter they go.

December 11 2013 at 1:37 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Mom and Dad's comment
Iselin007

Prices rise more than the middle class can handle soon everything will be imported from the third world. In that case the alcohol may be needed to eliminate the germs!

December 11 2013 at 1:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Iselin007

The Huff post just lost another reader they might want to take up drinking.

December 11 2013 at 1:28 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
Iselin007

Drink Coffee it goes better with donuts.

December 11 2013 at 1:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
usapaydirt

Anheuser Busch products have lost their ability to maintain consistency of taste since they were taken over by Inbev., Prior to ownership change Bud and Bud Light Beers had an almost impossible consistency of taste. That no longer exists for what ever reason, I suspect cost cuts, possibly lesser quality ingredients and there were reliable stories of watering down brew, something that will shed customers faster than a cat does hair in spring....

December 11 2013 at 1:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bzzzbayte

HAVE A BUD... OR A PEPSI?

December 11 2013 at 12:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply