Special Report

The Most Popular Beer Brands in America

Source: michelobultra.com

6. Michelob Ultra
> Parent company: Anheuser-Busch InBev
> Barrels shipped in 2017: 7.7 million
> Change from 2016: 21.3%
> Market share: 3.6%

Michelob Ultra has experienced greater growth from 2016 to 2017 than any other major beer in the U.S. market. The light lager’s shipments increased from 6.4 million in 2016 to 7.7 million in 2017, an increase of more than 21%. Over the past 10 years, Michelob Ultra sales have more than doubled. The lager is marketed as fitting a healthier lifestyle because of its lower calorie and carb count compared to other similar beers. Its commercials depict toned and trim people running, hiking, and biking before popping open bottles of Michelob Ultra.

Source: N-Lange.de / Wikimedia Commons

5. Corona Extra
> Parent company: Constellation Brands
> Barrels shipped in 2017: 8.7 million
> Change from 2016: 3.6%
> Market share: 4.1%

Of the five most popular beers in America, Corona Extra was the only brand to ship more beer in 2017 than it did the previous year. First brewed in Mexico City in 1925, this clear golden pilsner is the best selling beer in Mexico and the country’s leading exported beer. Corona Extra, along with Modelo Especial, are both a part of Constellation Brands.

Source: Stratol / Getty Images

4. Miller Lite
> Parent company: Molson Coors Brewing Company
> Barrels shipped in 2017: 13.1 million
> Change from 2016: -2.8%
> Market share: 6.1%

After debuting in 1975, Miller Lite hit its sales peak in 1990, shipping 19 million barrels. These days, Molson Coors is shipping about 13.1 million barrels per year. Miller Lite, like many other large American brews, is losing a chunk of its market share to increasingly popular imports and craft beer.

Source: pjohnson1 / Getty Images

3. Budweiser
> Parent company: Anheuser-Busch InBev
> Barrels shipped in 2017: 13.3 million
> Change from 2016: -7.5%
> Market share: 6.2%

First produced in 1876, the self-styled “King of Beers” is distributed in more than 70 countries and is one of the world’s best-selling brews. The brand brags about being “beechwood aged.” This does not mean that it’s aged in beechwood casks the way wine is aged in oak. The process involves adding pieces of beechwood to the lagering tanks. Some of the yeast involved in the fermenting process collects on the wood and increases the yeast’s contact with the beer. This helps reduce fermentation by-products that may lend an undesirable flavor to the beer.

Source: GreenPimp / Getty Images

2. Coors Light
> Parent company: Molson Coors Brewing Company
> Barrels shipped in 2017: 16.5 million
> Change from 2016: -4.1%
> Market share: 7.7%

For many years, Coors beer was only available in parts of the western United States, giving it a mystique that other major beer brewers couldn’t match. That mystique has since faded, as Coors Light and other products from the brewery became available in larger swaths of the country in the 1980s before becoming nationally available in 1991. Now, Coors Light is the second most popular beer in the country, though it comes nowhere close to number one.

Source: LauriPatterson / Getty Images

1. Bud Light
> Parent company: Anheuser-Busch InBev
> Barrels shipped in 2017: 33.0 million
> Change from 2016: -6.2%
> Market share: 15.4%

Bud Light, first sold nationwide in 1982, is by far America’s favorite beer. Its parent company, Anheuser-Busch InBev, shipped more than 33 million barrels of the light lager in 2017 — double the shipments of the next most popular beer. Shipments of Bud Light, however, dropped by 2.2 million barrels from 2016. Reviewers commonly describe it as thin and watery, but also drinkable and refreshing.

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