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.
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.
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.