These Are the 8 Beers Americans Are No Longer Drinking
Some of America’s most famous beers have lost a tremendous amount of their national sales over the last five years. 24/7 Wall St. looked at the 23 largest-selling beer products in America and discovered eight that have lost a staggering 30 percent or more of their sales between 2005 and 2010.
Most of the beers whose sales declined that much have one thing in common—they are “full-calorie” beers, or about 145 calories a can. Instead, beer drinkers have turned to “light beers” (or “lite”), which have 100 calories a can, and “ultra-lights,” which are closer to 90 calories.
Surprisingly, Budweiser, for years the best-selling beer in America, has lost 30 percent of its sales over the five-year period. Given that Budweiser sold 18 million barrels last year, that’s a massive loss–more than 7 million barrels less. Sales of Bud Light, on the other hand, held steady at just over 39 million barrels during the five year period. Six other products on the 24/7 Wall St. list have also lost half their sales since 2005.
Other than lighter-calorie beers, drinkers have also turned to imports, such as Corona, and to craft beers, which are produced, and usually also consumed, in relatively small regions, according to Eric Shepard of beer marketer’s INSIGHTS. Overall, sales of beer from 2005 to 2010 rose 1.9 million barrels to 208.4 million barrels. But sales of the top 20 brands dropped 10 million barrels to 149 million, a sign that Americans have turned to craft beers and imports.
24/7 Wall St. used two databases to do its analysis. One is kept by SymphonyIRI Group, one of the largest consumer research firms in the U.S. The other is from specialist research firm, beer marketer’s INSIGHTS, Inc.
Sales loss (2006-2010): -30 Percent
Barrels sold (2010): 18 million
The self-proclaimed “king of beers,” Budweiser’s lager was originally sold in 1876. The company still refers to itself as The Great American Lager, despite the fact that the brand is now technically owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev, a Belgian company. For years, it was the most popular beer in the country, until Bud Light took its place in 2001.
7. Milwaukee’s Best Light
Sales loss (2006-2010): -34 Percent
Barrels sold (2010): 1.3 million
Milwaukee’s Best Light was introduced in 1986 as the light version of Milwaukee’s Best. Now owned by MillerCoors, the beer has the tagline “brewed for a crisp, full taste.” Sales of the beer peaked at 2.1 million barrels in 1998 and 1999, but have declined steadily every year because of the success of larger brand name light beers like Bud Light and Miller Lite.
6. Miller Genuine Draft
Sales loss (2006-2010): -51 Percent
Barrels sold (2010): 1.8 million
MGD is MillerCoors’ unpasteurized beer. It was introduced by Miller Brewing in 1985. The beer is actually made from the same recipe as Miller High Life, but is treated differently post-brewing. Sales of the beer peaked in 1992 at 7.1 million barrels. It now sells barely a quarter of that each year.
5. Old Milwaukee
Sales loss (2006-2010): -52 Percent
Barrels sold (2010): 525,000
Old Milwaukee is the flagship of the high end products made by faltering Pabst Brewing Company—once one of the largest brewery companies in the world. In 1990, Old Milwaukee sold over 6 million barrels. This brand, along with others made by Pabst Brewing, almost certainly have been hurt by the huge marketing budgets of MillerCoors Brewing and Anheuser-Busch.
4. Milwaukee’s Best
Sales loss (2006-2010): -53 Percent
Barrels sold (2010): 925,000
Milwaukee’s Best is one of Miller’s economy brands. It is part of the line named “Milwaukee” meant to capitalize on the name of America’s former brewing capital. The product sold an impressive 7 million barrels in 1990. Its competition (i.e. Pabst and Keystone) have been successfully taking market share at the bottom of the market.
3. Bud Select
Sales loss (2006-2010): -60 Percent
Barrels sold (2010): 925,000
Bud Select is Anheuser Busch’s primary product in the ultra low calorie beer segment. It has only 99 calories per can. The large brewery has put a large amount of money behind the marketing of the beer, which has Jay-Z as a spokesman. The product was introduced in 2005 and has steadily lost sales since then.
2. Michelob Light
Sales loss (2006-2010): -64 Percent
Barrels sold (2010): 525,000
Michelob Light was launched in 1978 as Anheuser Busch worked to combat Miller Lite in the mid-1970s. Miller Lite was the No.2 selling beer from the early 1980s until 1994 with sales of 14.7 million barrels that year. Michelob Light sales reached only 2 million barrels by 1994. The beer has steadily lost sales since, and is now barely selling over a half million barrels each year.
Sales loss (2006-2010): -72 Percent
Barrels sold (2010): 175,000
Michelob was first brewed by Adolphus Busch, the founder of Anheuser Busch in 1896. When Anheuser Busch needed a super premium beer to compete with high-end imports like Heineken in the 1970s, it positioned Michelob to take that place.
(Douglas A. McIntyre/Becket Adams – 27/7 Wall Street/The Blaze)
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