Alcohol sales in bars and restaurants to grow next year

Despite a weak economy with limited wage growth and widespread unemployment, analysts expect the sale of alcohol to improve in coming months.

Despite a weak economy with limited wage growth and widespread unemployment, analysts expect the sale of alcohol to improve in coming months. A report released this week by analytics firm Technomic projects sales of alcoholic beverages in the nation's bars and restaurants to surge next year.

Specifically, overall consumer expenditures on alcohol away from the home will increase by 2.4 percent in 2012. However, researchers pointed out, sales will lag somewhat behind broader restaurant and bar sales while volume in the industry will remains flat.

Bars and clubs, which are both major drivers of alcohol sales, are expected to be trumped by other parts of the industry, holding down industry growth projections.

Also, the report found wine sales are set to enjoy the strongest growth, but both beer and wine will see higher consumer sales.

"While the underlying recovery in bars and restaurants remain fragile, we're starting to see consumers return to having a drink or two while they're out," said David Henkes, vice president at Technomic. "While the industry has a long way to go to full recovery, it's nice to see things moving slowly in the right direction."