Fewer Americans are cracking open a cold one these days. And if they are imbibing, there’s a good chance they’re drinking a craft beer or an imported lager, not one of the mass-produced, previously popular domestic beers.
According to 24/7 Wall St., American beer sales have slumped in the last few years. U.S. brands such as Budweiser, Miller and Milwaukee’s Best have experienced a significant drop in sales, while craft beer sales are up.
“According to data provided by Beer Marketer’s Insights, American sales of seven major brands, including Budweiser, declined by more than 20 percent between 2008 and 2013,” 24/7 Wall St. said.
According to Slate, Americans now drink more craft beer than Budweiser. In fact, 44 percent of 21- to 27-year-olds have never tipped back a Budweiser. Slate said:
Twenty years ago, when Americans were less health-conscious and had more homogeneous tastes, selling a mass-market, midpriced lager designed to appeal to the largest possible demographic made lots of sense. But now, [Budweiser is] a brand without a natural audience except for older Americans who drink it out of habit and maybe a nostalgic sense of brand loyalty. If you walk into a bar, there will almost always be a cheaper beer, a less caloric beer, and plenty of tastier beers on tap.
According to 24/7 Wall St., when many Americans tip back a cold one, chances are it’s no longer one of these:
- Budweiser Select — 61 percent sales loss between 2008 through 2013.
- Miller Genuine Draft — 58.3 percent sales loss.
- Milwaukee’s Best — 57 percent sales loss.
- Milwaukee’s Best Light — 40.6 percent sales loss.
- Budweiser — 28 percent sales loss.
- Miller Lite — 22.6 percent sales loss.
- Miller High Life — 21.2 percent sales loss.
Domestic beer shipments peaked in 2008 at nearly 219 million barrels before dropping to just 211.7 million barrels in 2013. The Great Recession was a factor.
“The people that got hit hardest in the economic recession were your mainstream beer drinkers, lower- to mid-income males, 25 to 34 [years old],” Eric Shepard, executive editor at Beer Marketer’s Insights, told 24/7 Wall St.
Some beer drinkers switched to wine or spirits. Others ditched the big brands in favor of craft beers. According to 24/7 Wall St.:
Craft beers have largely bucked the overall downtrend in beer sales. From 2008 to 2013, shipments of craft beer rose by 80.1 percent to a total of more than 16 million barrels, or 7.6 percent of the U.S. beer market.
I’m not much of a beer drinker, but my husband is. Several years ago, he (and the majority of his friends) drank Miller Lite exclusively. Now, they primarily drink craft beers and, occasionally, imported beer.
Are you a beer drinker? Share your thoughts about the beers that have fallen out of favor in the space below or on our Facebook page.