Houston beer distributor John Nau, a chief fundraiser for U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison's gubernatorial campaign, says the sagging economy is affecting both beer sales and how much people donate to causes (though he said Hutchison remains on target to raise what she needs).
"The economy is definitely impacting all aspects of American life," Nau said.
Under the Dome confirmed that less beer has flowed to distributors responsible for stocking Texas retailers.
Through September, total shipments from breweries to distributors were down 0.5 percent compared to the same date a year earlier, according to data analyzed by the Wholesale Beer Distributors of Texas.
In contrast, total beer shipments increased more than 4 percent by the end of September 2008 compared with a year earlier. Key factor this year: Shipments of popular "premium" beers like Bud Light and Miller Lite — which accounted for 8.7 million of 14.2 million barrels shipped — were down nearly 1.5 percent.
Mike McKinney of the wholesalers' group said he didn't know why there's been a drop, nor did he sob in his soda.
"I wouldn't cry and doom and gloom," he said. "The industry is down slightly."