Nine Beers Americans No Longer Drink

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Beer is not selling the way it used to. U.S. sales of the beverage
declined in four of the past five years. Between 2007 and 2012, beer
sales fell by 2.3%, or more than 4.8 million barrels.

  

This overall drop in beer sales is yet another challenge many of the
once most popular U.S. brands have to overcome as they continue to
lose market share. According to data provided by Beer Marketer’s
Insights, American sales of nine major brands, including the once
top-selling Budweiser, declined by more than 25% over the past five
years. Michelob Light’s U.S. sales declined by nearly 70%. The
following are the nine beers Americans no longer drink.

Click here to see the Nine Beers Americans No Longer Drink

According to Eric Shepard, executive editor at Beer Marketer’s
Insights, major brewers point to the lingering effects of the
recession as the reason beer sales are down. While this is clearly the
case, it is likely just one of the causes.

Wine and spirits have done much better, especially as they added
flavored brands. “The [beer] brewers have dabbled in that, and have
had some success with, for example, Redd’s Apple Ale, but nowhere near
the success that flavored vodkas and flavored whiskeys have had,”
Shepard said. Flavored and craft beers have performed extremely well
in a sector that is otherwise on the downswing.

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This is also true for specialty beers with creative labels and
slightly higher alcohol content, an attempt to appeal to the segment
that is increasingly attracted to wines and liquors. Bud Platinum,
which has higher alcohol content than major beer brands, sold 1.8
million cases when it was introduced in 2012, becoming the 19th
best-selling mainstream beer in the country last year.

While this trend has hurt the beers that declined the most between
2007 and 2012, most of these brands have been losing ground for much
longer than past five years. “The history of beer brands in the U.S.
has generally been — and there are exceptions — once they start to
decline, it’s very, very difficult to reverse it,” said Shepard.
Breweries like Michelob and Old Milwaukee have been falling out of
favor for decades.

24/7 Wall St. identified the nine beers Americans no longer drink
based on Beer Marketer’s Insights top beer brands with at least
600,000 barrels in sales in either 2007 or 2012, and with sales
declines of 30% or more over the same period. According to Shepard,
sales of less than 600,000 barrels can result in less reliable data.
Amstel Light, which was identified as one of the beer brands with the
biggest drops in our analysis last year, was not considered this year
because it had less than 600,000 barrels in sales both years. We also
excluded flavored malt beverages and craft beers brands from the
analysis.

These are the nine beers Americans no longer drink.9. Labatt Blue
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The Labatt brewery started in Canada in 1847. Just over a century
later, in 1951, the company introduced its Labatt Blue brand, which
would go on to become one of the best-known Canadian beers — and, for
a time, the most popular. Today, sales are declining in both the
United States and Canada. The beer is fourth in sales in Canada and
40th in the U.S., down from 32nd in 2007. In Canada, market share
declined from roughly 10% in 2000 to roughly 5% currently, according
to The Toronto Star. The U.S. market share declined from 0.4% to 0.3%
between 2007 and 2012.

8. Budweiser
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The self-proclaimed “king of beers,” Budweiser’s lager was originally
sold in 1876 as the first brand available all across the country. For
years, Budweiser was the most popular beer in the country, until Bud
Light took its place in the early 2000s. Bud is now third-most popular
behind Coors Light as well. Part of the reason for the beer’s decline
was the increasing popularity of light beer. “The trend toward light
beers really hurt Budweiser in the beginning of its decline,” Shepard
said. Although the trend may be reversing. “There seems to be a shift
away from light beer now as well,” Shepard added.


7. Heineken Premium Light
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Unlike Budweiser, the move to light beer did not work well for
Heineken. “It turns out that ‘import’ and ‘light’ are not synergistic
terms. The only one that has been fairly successful has been Corona
Light. It just seems like the Heineken drinker wasn’t looking for a
light beer,” Shepard said. Earlier this year, however, Heineken
announced its intention to give its light variety a boost by adding
Cascade hops, a popular addition in craft beers. If the change helps
boost sales, it will be much needed. Since its introduction in 2006,
Heineken Light has not made much of an impact on the market. In 2007,
sales made up just 0.3% of the market and declined to 0.2% in 2012,
among the smallest market shares for a large non-craft beer brand.

6. Milwaukee’s Best Light
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MillerCoors has marketed the Milwaukee’s Best Light brand as a
masculine, light and affordable beer since its debut in 1986.
Milwaukee’s Best Light did well in 2007, shipping nearly 2 million
barrels of beer, among the best-selling beers that year. According to
Shepard, “the sub-premiums had a little bit of a bounceback early in
the recession — because they’re lower-priced beers — but they’ve been
slowly declining for years.” In an attempt to boost waning sales,
MillerCoors has done several advertising campaigns in recent years,
including sponsoring the World Series of Poker and offering consumers
a chance to win a ticket to the 2010 card finals. Despite these
efforts, beer sales have continued to decline. Between 2007 and last
year, the brand barely sold 1.1 million barrels of beer, and market
share has nearly halved, from 0.9% in 2007 to 0.5% in 2012.


5. Old Milwaukee
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Old Milwaukee, which is currently owned by Pabst Blue Ribbon brewing
company, has been brewed since 1849. The brand, including its light
variety, won a number of gold medals awarded by the Great American
Beer Festival. In 2011, on his own initiative, comedian and actor Will
Ferrell starred in a number of Old Milwaukee commercials free of
charge. However, gold medals and marketing boosts did little to
improve the brand’s downward trend. Old Milwaukee sold 470,000 less
barrels of beer in 2012 than it did in 2007, more than a 50% decline
in sales.

4. Miller Genuine Draft
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Owned by MillerCoors brewing company and introduced nationally in
1986, MGD is counterintuitively a bottled beer. Since it is not heat
pasteurized — the process most bottled beers undergo — the brand is
marketed as “the fresh taste of draft beer in a bottle.” Between 2007
and 2012, Miller Genuine Draft sales fell by more than 1.7 million
barrels, the fourth largest decline out of all high-selling non-craft
beer brands. U.S. market share fell from 1.5% to 0.7% in that time.

ALSO READ: The Best Upside and Value in Beer, Wine and Spirit Stocks  

3. Milwaukee’s Best Premium
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Milwaukee’s Best was first brewed in 1895 by the Gettelman Brewing
Company. In 1961, the small brewery was acquired by Miller, which
introduced Milwaukee’s Best nationally in 1984. MillerCoors has
marketed the brand as affordable beer “brewed for a man’s taste.” No
MillerCoors brand suffered more than Milwaukee’s Best between 2007 and
2012. Over that time, annual sales fell by 915,000 barrels. According
to Shepard, over the past few years, sub-premium brewers raised their
prices slightly in hopes of getting drinkers to switch to higher
levels of beer. Competition for Milwaukee’s Best drinkers became more
fierce as a result. Shepard added that before this happened, the brand
had already been “fading anyway.”

2. Budweiser Select
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Bud Select was introduced in 2005. The beer has slightly fewer
calories than Bud Lite, which has 110 calories, and is marketed as a
“light beer for people who love beer.” The brand has not sold well
since its introduction, with a 1 million barrel decline in sales
between 2007 and 2012, or about 62%. According to Shepard, “Budweiser
tried a lot of different things to fix the ‘Bud’ brand. Bud Select was
one of them. It didn’t work.”

ALSO READ: The Ten States Making the Most on Beer

1. Michelob Light
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The Michelob Light franchise “is a sinking brand at this point.
There’s still a bunch of Michelobs, and Ultra is growing,” Shepard
said. But the Michelob brand as a whole, he explained, “appears to be
a sinking ship.” Introduced in 1978 by Anheuser Busch and styled after
a European lager, Michelob Light has struggled recently more than any
other top beer brand. Shipments declined by nearly 70% between 2007
and 2012, falling from more than 1,000,000 barrels to just 350,000.



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Read more: Nine Beers Americans No Longer Drink - Anheuser-Busch InBev
NV (NYSE:BUD) - 24/7 Wall St.
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Follow us: @247wallst on Twitter | 247wallst on Facebook


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