Craft beer continued its growth last year, rising to 7.8 percent of total U.S. beer volume, up from 6.5 percent in 2012. The Brewers Association, a Colorado-based industry trade group, said craft brewers' volume rose 18 percent to 15.6 million barrels last year. The figures are preliminary. In 2009, craft beer accounted for only a 4.4 percent share of beer volume. Craft beer sales totaled an estimated $14.3 billion, representing 14.3 percent of the U.S. beer market, up from $11.9 billion in 2012, the group said. “With this stellar year, craft has now averaged 10.9 percent growth over the last decade,” Bart Watson, a Brewers Association staff economist, said.
ConAgra to close two N.Y. plants
ConAgra Foods said it plans to close two plants in western New York, a move that would put more than 400 people out of work. Company officials said that the plants in the communities of Dunkirk and Fredonia will be closed by February. Food production lines are expected to be moved to other locations, including Buckner, Ky. The Omaha-based company bought the two plants as part of its nearly $5 billion purchase of Ralcorp in November 2012.
FedEx's rise in profits is shy of forecasts
FedEx Corp. said its latest quarterly profit rose 5 percent from a year ago despite storms that raised the company's costs, but the results were below analysts' expectations. The company's ground-shipping segment is doing better, but the express-delivery business is flat and customers continue to shift to slower, cheaper services for international shipments. The package-delivery giant said Wednesday that net income in the quarter that ended Feb. 28 rose to $378 million, or $1.23 per share, from $361 million, or $1.13 per share, a year ago. Analysts surveyed by FactSet expected $1.45 per share.
Supertel revenue drops
The effects of rebranding four hotels and the performance of two hotels in the Washington, D.C., market cut into fourth-quarter revenue for Norfolk, Neb.-based Supertel Hospitality. Revenue from continuing operations for the quarter ending Dec. 31, 2013, declined 6.4 percent, to $12.6 million from $13.4 million in the prior year. Income from continuing operations for all of 2013 was $0.7 million, compared with a loss of $11.1 million for 2012.