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The changing beer-sales landscape in the USA


Fat Guy
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Someone sent me this link today and I was blown away by the numbers, for example sales of Michelob down 72 percent over the past 5 years:

8 beers Americans no longer drink

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Notice that all of them are mass-produced "American Light Lagers."

If sales of Sierra Nevada, Anchor Steam or Samuel Adams were down 70%, I'd be worried.

But those eight beers? See if you can tell them apart in a blind taste test. The only differences will be things like "less carbonation" "more corn flavor," "do I detect hop flavor? perhaps, not sure."

The market is flooded with carbon-copy adjunct lagers. I'll bet 10 beers are dropped by their corporate parents in the next two years. (Meanwhile, Corona continues to do well. So we can't blame things on a "more-refined American palate.")

Who cares how time advances? I am drinking ale today. -- Edgar Allan Poe

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You know, when you go out to a bar here in NYC, and they're charging $5 for a Bud or $6 for a Brooklyn, it's easy enough to pay that extra buck.

Bottom line is good beers are being made and sold for close to the price of those crap beers listed in the article referenced above.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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Add to that a couple clever and highly-successful advertising campaigns for some non-craft beers (Dos Equis sales are skyrocketing and Corona is doing very well). So you have reasonably priced craft beers and better-advertised alternate lower-end beers both hammering away at the mega-brews.

Chris Hennes
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chennes@egullet.org

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Add to that a couple clever and highly-successful advertising campaigns for some non-craft beers (Dos Equis sales are skyrocketing and Corona is doing very well). So you have reasonably priced craft beers and better-advertised alternate lower-end beers both hammering away at the mega-brews.

Dos Equis Amber Lager isn't all that bad. It's a decent-enough example of a Vienna Pilsner.

Corona, OTOH, proves that Americans will buy ANYTHING.

Who cares how time advances? I am drinking ale today. -- Edgar Allan Poe

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Agreed, when it was on sale last week I picked up a case (of Dos Equis that is)... I can't drink Fin du Monde ALL the time, after all! The Dos Equis "Most Interesting Man in the World" series is one of the most successful beer ads of all time, they are having a hard time importing enough to satisfy demand right now.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Dos Equis Amber Lager isn't all that bad. It's a decent-enough example of a Vienna Pilsner.

Corona, OTOH, proves that Americans will buy ANYTHING.

It's actually a Vienna Lager. A Vienna Pilsner (were there such a style and in today's craft world you just might have created one) would be much more hoppy.

Edited by heidih
Fix quote tags (log)
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Can't say I'd miss any of the above. I drink Yuengling Lager when I can get it (I have to bootleg it from Tennessee, the nearest sales point). I like 1554, from the New Belgium brewers. I like Belgian trippels, and some IPAs, long as they're not too hoppy. And Red Stripe is a reasonably decent supermarket beer.

I would note I was drinking Dos Equis well before the "most interesting man," and I tend to like the darker Mexican beers -- Negra Modelo, particularly. I like Bohemia as well. When I was in Japan I loved draft Sapporo, but it's not the same here; if I'm in a notion for Japanese beer, it's generally Kirin Ichiban.

Oh, and Kingfisher with Indian food. :smile:

Don't ask. Eat it.

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It's actually a Vienna Lager. A Vienna Pilsner (were there such a style and in today's craft world you just might have created one) would be much more hoppy.

Sorry -- coffee hadn't kicked in yet. Vienna lager it is. But Dos Equis Amber is still a decent (not the best, but decent) example.

Who cares how time advances? I am drinking ale today. -- Edgar Allan Poe

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  • 5 weeks later...

Michelob used to be positioned as a finer beer. Way back when, my parents would offer it on holidays. And the brand did try to offer some variety. At this point, I can't think of any craft brew that doesn't beat their offerings. Most of my guests would not consider being offered a Michelob a treat. However, there are a number of ABInBev brands that would be appreciated. For instance, I can still remember how WRONG Michelob's hefe weiss was, but am pleased with Goose Island's 312 wheat ale.

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Corona, OTOH, proves that Americans will buy ANYTHING.

I remember being shocked at seeing how popular Corona was a summer about 15 years ago I spent in Ireland. All the young successful people were drinking gallons of it it back then. I think it nailed those customers on a spring break vacation, and they never went back. I think it's the worst beer ever made!

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I haven't seen Michelob at a bar in a long time, and other than Bud I haven't heard of most of those. As for Dos Equis, I'll echo that it's actually a decent beer at a decent price, especially the Ambar. If that's the only beer at a bar in a sea of macro-lager, I'll happily have it, whereas otherwise I'd prob just get something hard.

As for Corona...where do I begin. Even though they're really similar to it, I vastly prefer Sol and Landshark. I have yet to finish a bottle of Corona while relatively sober, because by the time I get halfway down the bottle, the chill has worn off and I can actually taste how gross it is.

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I haven't seen Michelob at a bar in a long time, and other than Bud I haven't heard of most of those. As for Dos Equis, I'll echo that it's actually a decent beer at a decent price, especially the Ambar. If that's the only beer at a bar in a sea of macro-lager, I'll happily have it, whereas otherwise I'd prob just get something hard.

As for Corona...where do I begin. Even though they're really similar to it, I vastly prefer Sol and Landshark. I have yet to finish a bottle of Corona while relatively sober, because by the time I get halfway down the bottle, the chill has worn off and I can actually taste how gross it is.

And I'd rather drink a warm Corona than Landshark. Landshark is without a doubt, the most vile concoction ever brewed. You'd think as good as alcohol has been to Jimmy Buffett, he could return the favor.

Who cares how time advances? I am drinking ale today. -- Edgar Allan Poe

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Hahaha, well, I dunno, maybe the Landshark I had was really fresh vs all the skunked and otherwise vile Corona I've had.

Also, come to think of it, I think I've only had Landshark "Mexican style" (which, oddly, is a Lebanese invention usually done with Almaza) - with added lemon juice and a salted rim on the glass. In any case I'm not saying it's a good beer or anything, I just can't stand Corona :biggrin:

Edited by Hassouni (log)
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I wonder how much, if any, of the sales decline of Michelob and Budweiser resulted from the takeover by Inbev in 2008. I recall reports quoting some loyal Bud drinkers who said they would no longer drink the beer if a foreign outfit owned the company. Perhaps they meant it.

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A voice from the north.............

It's true, here in B.C the are a lot of smaller microbreweries, and they are available. But when I walk into a liquor store I am pounded on the head by the large American brews--Bud and Miller. According to local stats, they are the most popular and best selling beers. And at major sporting events, right here in Vancouver, its Bud coming out of the taps.

O.K. so taste is one thing, but paul-ticks is another. Bud and Miller etc are brewed here under license by the major CDN "big three": Molson, Labatts, and O'Keefe. I doubt if you can buy 5% alc/volume Bud or Miller in the States....

I grew up in a time when there were only the big three breweries around. I witnessed a major brewery being mothballed in my home town, the workers got together and leased the brewery for 5 years and started to produce decent beer. The big boys took them to court and tried to close down the brewery, didn't have much of a case, but they tried and eventually lost.

I only drink microbrewed beer.

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According to local stats, they are the most popular and best selling beers. And at major sporting events, right here in Vancouver, its Bud coming out of the taps.

This reminds me of a miserable part time summer job I had a couple of years ago. I worked the concession stand at a minor league baseball stadium. It was the first year it was open, and everything was immaculate. Furthermore, they wanted to make the particular stand I was in to be "gourmet" which in their eyes meant we charged more for the same old things, and served stuff other than Bud/Miller/Coors. If I remember right we had Leinenkugel, Sam Adams, and a couple other similar offerings. There were so many complaints that we didnt have "real beer," and that they had to walk to a different stand, that next season, the selection was changed the big macros.

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