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9 Big Beer Brands Lost 25%+ In Barrel Sales Over 5 Years

Dec 10, 2013, 1:41 PM
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U.S. barrel-volume sales of nine major beer brands fell by more than 25% (some by double that) over the past five years, reports 24/7 Wall Street, using data from Beer Marketer's Insights.

According to the list, between 2000 and 2012, these were those brands' percentage losses in barrel sales terms: Michelob Light (-69.6%, to 350,000 barrels in 2012); Budweiser Select (-61.5%, to 625,000 barrels); Milwaukee's Best Premium (-58.5%, to 650,000 barrels); Miller Genuine Draft (-56.4% to 1.39 million barrels); Old Milwaukee (-54%, to 400,000 barrels); Milwaukee's Best Light (-39.7%, to 1.11 million barrels); Heineken Premium Light (-36.7%, to 440,000 barrels); Budweiser (-28.8%, to 16.8 million barrels); and Labatt Blue (-28.3%, to 650,000 barrels).

24/7 limited the list to brands that had at least 600,000 barrel sales in either 2007 or 2012.

In total, U.S. barrel sales of beer declined 2.3%, or by more than 4.8 millon barrels, over the five years.

While major brewers attribute the declines to the lingering effects of the recession, most of these brands have been losing ground for far longer than five years, said Beer Marketer's Insights executive editor Eric Shepard, noting that it's very difficult to reverse a decline once it starts.

Shepard pointed out that wine and spirits have had much more success, especially as they have added flavored varieties.  

The beers that have decidedly bucked the downward trends have been craft beers and (the less plentiful) flavored launches, he said. Specialty beers with creative labels and slightly higher alcohol content have also done very well--such as higher-alcohol brand Bud Platinum, which sold 1.8 million cases in its first year (2012) to become the 19th best-selling beer in the U.S.

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