10 things: 10 things the beer industry won’t tell you

1. People drink less beer than they used to

Here’s something for beer fans to say cheers to: The majority of Americans live within 10 miles of a brewery. There are now nearly 3,200 breweries nationwide, up from 97 just 30 years ago.

Beer has long been the nation’s favorite alcoholic drink: 41% of Americans say they prefer beer, according to a recent Gallup poll, compared with 31% who favor wine and 23% who opt for liquor.

The surging number of breweries reflects a growing taste for smaller-batch, “craft” beers.

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“It’s harder to find people who say, ‘oh, I don’t like beer,’ anymore because there’s so many different flavors that there’s probably a beer for every legal-age drinking adult at this point,” says Paul Gatza, director of the Brewers Association, a network of more than 2,300 U.S. breweries and 43,000 home-brewers.

Still, beer consumption is slipping. Overall sales for the $ 100 billion beer market were down 1.9% in terms of volume in 2013, the fourth decline in the past five years. Wine and liquor have been steadily winning over more drinkers since the 1990s.

Read 10 things winemakers won’t tell you.

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