In recent years, Americans have tossed traditional favorites Bud, Busch, Miller, and Coors to the wayside in preference of more select brews. Craft beers have risen in sales and production in recent years. However, brewers fear that growth may be stalling. According to the Brewers Association, afer 15% growth in volume in 2015 and 18% growth in the two years preceding, volume growth slowed to 6% in 2016 and 5% in 2017. Last year, overall retail beer sales fell 1.2% and many suspect Americans’ alcohol preference is shifting from beer to liquor.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) said in its acreage report on Friday that U.S. farmers planted an estimated 89.6 million acres of soybeans compared to an estimated 89.1 million acres of corn in 2018. It is the first time in 35 years that farmers planted more soybeans than corn. Both measures are down from 2017 figures but align with analyst expectations for 2018. While growers were expecting better returns on soybeans in the middle of planting season, a brewing trade war with China has filled the soybean market with some anxiety. China is the world’s largest importer of soybeans and the U.S.’s largest customer of the oilseed. Since the planting season has ended and trade tensions have arisen, commodity prices for soybeans and corn have fallen.