Down 16% in February

According to Harry Schuhmacher in his Beer Business Daily column, import shipments were down 16.1% in February, a drop of 750,000 barrels for both January and February or 19% for the two months. That's the worst performance for imports in almost 20 years. “It's the economy and pricing, but it's also a lack of inventory replenishment from retailers due to low confidence in the high end” said Harry.

Mexican shipments in February were down 9%, the bulk of the load of course coming from Corona. Dutch shipments were off 26% in February and January, signaling a huge drop in Heineken shipments. Irish shipments down big at 25% and UK down 20%. German shipments "only" off 8%.

But wait! What country really sings the “craft beer” tune? Belgian of course. No big “fizzy yellow” mega-brands ship out of that tiny county, mostly just “authentic” high-end, high-margin. And, Belgium up big 59%!