Americans love beer. Some 40% of drinkers in the U.S. list the hoppy concoction as their alcoholic beverage of choice. U.S. beer consumption totaled nearly 159 pints per person in 2016 alone.
A large portion of the beer consumed comes from major beer distributors such as Molson Coors Brewing Company and Anheuser-Busch InBev. These are the types of beers you will likely see advertised during sporting events on TV — brews like Bud Light, Miller Lite, and Coors Light. Millions of barrels of these beers are shipped across the country each year.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed shipping data from Beer Marketer’s Insights, a U.S. brewing industry trade publisher, to determine the most popular beer brands in America.
Though these American brews sell millions of barrels a year, many are waning in popularity. Benj Steinman, president of Beer Marketer’s Insights, told 24/7 Wall St. that as these familiar beers from large brewers have fallen in favor, two major segments of the American beer market have taken their place.
“The two main areas of the industry that have gained in [roughly the last] decade have been craft and Mexican imports,” Steinman said. Many American beer consumers want to try new beverages, leading to a rise in craft beer sales, though that has leveled off over the past few years, Steinman added.
The rising demand for beer brands from Mexico has vaulted lagers like like Modelo and Corona up the list of America’s favorite beers. These Mexican imports have largely avoided the sales decline that has been common among domestic beers like Miller Lite or Bud Light, instead posting substantial year-over-year growth. According to Steinman, the three reasons behind the increased demand for Mexican beers are a growing Hispanic population in the United States, effective marketing campaigns, and the brands’ broadening appeal with the general market.
Overall, total U.S. beer shipments were down roughly 1% in 2017 and look to be headed that way in 2018 as well, according to Steinman. This comes after three consecutive years of modest growth in 2014, 2015, and 2016. This slight dip in beer shipments may be attributable to the rise in popularity of alternate alcoholic drinks.
According to a Gallup poll, more than a quarter of American drinkers listed wine as their preferred beverage — the largest share in the poll’s 25 year history. Spiked seltzers and flavored drinks like Mike’s Hard Lemonade, are also cutting into the consumption of legacy beer brands, particularly light beer. Many spiked seltzer brands had double digit percentage point growth in the last year, according to Steinman.
24/7 Wall St. reviewed domestic shipping volume data provided by industry advocacy group Beer Marketer’s Insights to identify America’s biggest beer brands.