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Ellis said he was surprised to see that even with consumer interest growing for craft beers, mass-market beers, like Budweiser, Coors Light, Miller Lite and Pabst Blue Ribbon, showed the highest rate of increase within the beer category. Prices jumped 3.6 percent for “premium” brands and 6.8 percent for “sub premium” brands during the seven-month period from October 2012 through April 2013.

Those showing more moderate price increases were craft, or “ultra-premium” beers, which rose 1.8 percent in price, as well as “super premium” beers, which increased in price by about 1 percent on average.

“While all the attention has been on craft beers, the price of mainstay brands in the mid-price tier have risen more dramatically," he said. "And traditionally lower-priced beers, such as Pabst Blue Ribbon, have seen sizeable double-digit price increases in restaurants as well as bars and nightclubs.”

That could be explained in part by the growing popularity of beers like Pabst Blue Ribbon among hipsters, who have embraced a retro attraction to the brand, Ellis said.

Still, prices for sub-premium beers remained under about $2.75 during the period, while the ultra-premium craft beers topped $5.25.

And “family restaurants” with an average check under $40 tended to hold beer prices steady during the period, the survey found. Those family restaurants, however, appeared to raise prices on wine.

Wine prices at family-dining restaurants jumped 8.36 percent during the period, followed by a 5.35-percent increase at fine-dining concepts, the research found.

At mid-priced casual-dining concepts, however, wine prices grew a modest 1.90 percent on average, and pricing increased 1.99 percent at upscale-casual restaurants, the study found.

The wine data reflects trends at more than 5,000 restaurants, including $289 million in purchases of wine by the glass, bottle or carafe.

Contact Lisa Jennings at lisa.jennings@penton.com.
Follow her on Twitter: @livetodineout