Sales of craft beers continue rise, liquor going to mid-tier

SALES: CJ Hillard, a clerk at Grunst Brothers Party Store, makes a sale on Tuesday. Jana Farrier, owner of the business, said more people are buying craft beers and mid-tier liquor. (Pioneer photo/Eric Dresden)

SALES: CJ Hillard, a clerk at Grunst Brothers Party Store, makes a sale on Tuesday. Jana Farrier, owner of the business, said more people are buying craft beers and mid-tier liquor. (Pioneer photo/Eric Dresden)

BIG RAPIDS — Jana Farrier has noticed a shift in how people purchase alcohol at Grunst Brothers Party Store — people are purchasing more mid-tier liquor and more craft beers.

SHOPPING: A customer looks at the craft beer section in Grunst Brothers Party Store on Tuesday.

SHOPPING: A customer looks at the craft beer section in Grunst Brothers Party Store on Tuesday.

“The trend has moved to more of the middle of the road,” she said about liquor. “They haven’t stopped drinking, they’re just going from the higher-end to the middle-of-the-road while trying to make their money stretch further.”

The trend really started to pick up about two years ago said Farrier, owner of the business which is located at 624 N. State St. in Big Rapids.

But what’s interested her is the shift in beer sales.

“I see a lot more people buying craft beers, which is the higher end,” Farrier said. “Our craft beer is going strong.”

Although uncertain about the exact cause for the shift, Farrier speculated that many more people are holding on to their money rather than going for the best types of alcohol and are being more conservative in their choices to “try and make that dollar stretch as far as it can.”

“It’s interesting because with the beer, they seem to be going to the craft beer, which is more expensive than Budweiser or Bud Light,” she said. “On the other hand, with liquor, they haven’t stopped buying it but they’ve moved down a little bit.”

As for wine, Ferrier said she typically knows how well the type of alcohol will sell.

“Wine doesn’t fluctuate much,” she said. “People kind of know what they want in their wine.”

As 2013 came to a close, Beth Friedman, owner of Eastside Market, has had a regular year for alcohol sales.

“My business is pretty consistent,” she said. “Sales are up a little overall, but basically everything is just normal.”

She hasn’t noticed the same exact trend as Farrier because many of her customers typically purchase the same items.

New beers seem to be selling well at Eastside Market, she said, but the economy still factors into the final purchase.

“The economy definitely effects the overall consumer’s buying,” she said. “They don’t splurge like they used to.”

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