Americans bought 208.1 million barrels of beer in 2017, about 1.6 million fewer barrels than five years ago. While sales of smaller craft beer brands climbed over that period, this growth was not strong enough to offset plummeting sales of some of the largest and most familiar beer brands in the United States.
U.S. sales of 18 of the 31 largest beer brands by shipment volume fell over the last five years. The brands include Coors Light, Miller High Life, Heineken, and — despite the buzz generated by the polarizing “Dilly Dilly” ad campaign — Bud Light.
In an interview with 24/7 Wall St., Eric Shepard, executive editor at industry information resource Beer Marketer’s Insights, explained that it is a difficult time for mainstream beers. “They’re shedding volume at probably what their suppliers view as an alarming rate,” Shepard said.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed the beer brands with declines in total barrels shipped in the United States between 2012 and 2017 to identify the beers Americans no longer drink. We only considered beer brands that shipped at least a million barrels in 2012. All shipment and market share data were provided by Beer Marketer’s Insights.
Some of the customers that once preferred many of the brands with collapsing sales are now increasingly opting for craft beers, flavored drinks, and some higher-end brands. The explanation for the shift may be generational. “There’s a saying out there that you don’t drink your father’s beer,” Shepard said, “and I think that these numbers seem to support at least part of that.”