As the US economy continues to tank AND as US 'craft' beer sales continue to rise (albeit not nearly as well as last year), imports in the US are cratering. As reported by beer author/blogger Lew Bryson at his Seen Through a Glass:
[The] Beer Institute released figures yesterday indicating that imported beer shipments were down another 8.1% in July, bringing year-to-date import shipments down 9.3%, or a loss of about 160,000 case equivs a day. There was some hope among import suppliers that sales would start to rebound toward the end of summer, but that just hasn't happened.
A case equivalent is a conversion of barrels into cases (of 24 12-ounce bottles), as if all the beer produced by a brewery were only cases. One barrel equals approximately 13.78 cases. Known in beer business jargon as a 'CE', it's a convenient measurement for some.
I also found illuminating an add-on by Lew in the comments section:
The person who's drinking Amstel -- or any of the imported light lagers -- is often what marketers call an 'aspirational drinker.' They're drinking the brand because it sets them apart, and the higher price only reinforces that. Bud Light doesn't set anyone apart. <...> Some people really do drink more expensive beer just because it costs more, studies have proved this over and over.
Ignoring for a moment the inanity of such marketing argot, the same 'aspiration' can be true of some wine drinkers as well, who will peruse 'ratings' of experts and the price tags on wine bottles, rather than trusting their own palates on the wine within.