Question/Comment: I was surprised to hear on your NewsHour piece that the Pabst brewery was razed. It made me think that in recent years a number of excellent American beers have been produced, some even better than highly touted foreign beers. Do these great American beers have any significant presence overseas?
Paul Solman: Depends what you mean by “significant presence.” The U.S. imports about $3.5 billion dollars worth of a beer a year, rising at a rate of something like 15 percent a year. We export some $200 million worth, mainly to Canada and Mexico, from both of which we import vastly more.
The rate of beer export growth was around 4 percent (2005-2006). The balance of beer is, in a word, negative. The hop gap is widening. Maybe a staggering dollar will reverse the trend.