Compiled ByTonya Vinas The economic news may be bitter, but U.S. beer drinkers are still guzzling. According to Norwalk, Conn.-based Adams Beverage Group, beer consumption in the U.S. recorded its sixth straight year of growth in 2001, rising .6% to 2.8 billion 2.25-gallon cases. It was the slowest growth rate in the last four years. Proving true economic statistics that show consumer spending is high, beer drinkers are buying more expensive brands. According to Adams, which publishes the Adams Beer Handbook, imports climbed 8.8% while domestics dipped for the first time in four years, down .3%. "Super premium and micro/specialty" beers grew by 9.6%. "The appeal of premium, luxury products of all types has captured consumers, and beer is riding that wave," says Robert Keane, co-publisher/editorial director for Adams Beverage Group. "The strength of lights and imports has proven to be resilient over the course of the past decade."