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Portfolio > Economy & Markets

Let the boomer party begin

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The old canard; if the economy’s good people drink to celebrate, if the economy’s bad people drink to mourn. Either way, it makes alcohol stocks a sure thing. But Morningstar finds this seemingly incontrovertible logic (technically) false.

“We would argue that alcoholic beverages companies are recession-resilient rather than recession-proof as they still experience cyclical demand,” reports the Chicago-based research firm.

But given the right brands and adequate scale, it says, producing and selling alcoholic beverages is “a beautiful business: brand loyalty is high, growth is stable, and profits are robust in good times and bad. In fact, despite the effects of trading down, alcohol has comprised a very steady percentage of the United States consumer’s total food budget for over 130 years, save for Prohibition, which lasted from 1919 to 1933.”

So what’s hitting now? Beer over wine and spirits. And not surprisingly, consumers are taking to the value brands. With a case of a large domestic beer brand selling for essentially the same as a craft beer six-pack, they’re opting for the former.


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