Where Have All The Beer Drinkers Gone?

Beer, anyone?

The story's the same in London as it is in Melbourne as it is in Mumbai: Across the glove, people are ditching the hops.

Beer consumption in Australia is down from last year to the lowest per-capita volume logged there since 1947. (Coincidentally, wine consumption is up.)

In Britain, where pubs are as glorified as the Queen and Kate Middleton, public consumption over the past three months is down from last year by 212 million pints. It's also happening in Mumbai, where beer consumption slipped for the first time in eight years. A reported 71 million cases went out in the first quarter of summer, down from 74.5 million in 2010.

This epidemic isn't immune to American consumption habits, either. MillerCoors recently announced that it was scrapping its failed MGD64 Lemonade experiment, which makes sense, since it was a bad idea to begin with. In Minnesota, a government shutdown might lead to public drinking culture straight-up disappearing in some parts of the Land O' Lakes; 300 bar owners currently hold expired state liquor purchasing cards that cannot be renewed until government shops reopen their doors.

Obviously a few of the aforementioned are a direct result of obstacles that don't pertain to a waning interest in beer, but there's plenty to suggest that the general public is becoming fed up with the same old hops and barley. Foster's CEO John Pollaers spoke to the issue at the beginning of the month, suggesting that "It's almost like innovation has become a beer category" of late, a direct allusion to Foster's recent efforts to make a bigger splash in a rapidly popularizing craft beer game.

That's what's happening in America, too. Steve Hindy's Brooklyn Brewery is just one of many examples of the public forgoing the nationally produced megabeers for locally brewed, unique crafts that you can't get everywhere else. As Hindy tells Fox News, "We think that the big brewers have their place... but we think if we can get a chance at letting people have a taste of our kind of beer and the different styles we produce, then we can convert them eventually."

Do people all over the world share Hindy's locavore-like ideals enough to bring beer consumption back up to where it was a year ago? Hard to tell, but we'll drink to his optimism.