Detailed Findings & Methodology
Declining year-over-year demand for a beer brand does not necessarily mean a beer is unpopular. In fact, many of the beers on this list are among the most popular in the United States, despite recent precipitous shipment declines.
For example, Bud Light, Budweiser, and Miller Lite are three of the four best selling beers in the U.S. However, between them, shipments have declined anywhere from 12.6% to 22.2% from 2011 to 2016.
In an interview with 24/7 Wall St., Eric Shepherd, executive editor for industry advocacy group Beer Marketer’s Insights, explained that advertising may partially explain waning demand for some of the industry’s most iconic brands.
“Beer advertising is not as strong as it used to be, and that has contributed to the softness in the industry,” Shepherd said. To be sure, Anheuser Busch’s ad spending on its Budweiser brand had declined by 8.9% from 2014 to 2015.
Advertising channels are also changing. As advertising shifts to digital mediums, consumers are becoming harder to reach. “The breweries are still figuring it out, particularly the big breweries,” Shepherd said.
Other patterns among the beers losing popularity fastest are more self-evident. For example, half of the beers on this list are light beers — characterized by fewer calories and a lower ABV than more traditional beers.
Low cost sub-premium beers as well as ice beers are also heavily represented on this list. Such beers include Keystone Light, Natural Ice, and Icehouse. Relatively inexpensive, mass-produced beers are declining as the number of microbreweries in the United States is skyrocketing. There were only 843 microbreweries in the U.S. in 2011. As of 2016, there were 3,132 — a 272% increase.
To identify the beers Americans no longer drink, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed shipment volumes provided by Beer Marketer’s Insights for all brands with more than 1 million barrels shipped in either 2011 or 2016. The beer brands on this list are the 10 with the steepest five year shipment declines. The analysis excludes beer sold outside of the United States. Data on advertising expenditures came from Adage.com, a global media brand that delivers insights, analysis, news, and data on marketing and media.