After three years of declining sales, shipments of domestically sold beer are up by more than 1% in the United States this year. Sales of light beer and specialty beer, such as Budweiser Light Platinum, Shock Top, and Blue Moon, have been the driving force in the resurgence of U.S. breweries.
While sales of specialty, craft, and small-market beers have improved dramatically, many of the traditional, full-calorie beers that were once the staples of most breweries have fallen behind. In the five years ending in 2011, sales of Budweiser, which was once the top-selling beer in the country for years, have fallen by 7 million barrels. Sales of Michelob are down more than 70%. Based on data provided by Beer Marketer’s INSIGHTS, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the nine large — or once-large — beer brands with a five-year decline in sales of 30% or more.
While regular, full-calorie beer was once the mainstream, now light has become the primary beer of choice. Budweiser, once by far the most popular beer, has now fallen to third place in domestic sales, with 17.2 million barrels shipped in 2011, compared to Coors Light’s 17.4 million. The U.S. beer leader is, by a long shot, Bud Light, with 39.15 million barrels sold last year.
9. Milwaukee’s Best Light
> Sales loss (2006-2011): 35.5%
8. Miller High Life Light
> Sales loss (2006-2011): 37.6%
7. Amstel Light
> Sales loss (2006-2011): 47.7%
6. Miller Genuine Draft
> Sales loss (2006-2011): 52.3%
5. Old Milwaukee
> Sales loss (2006-2011): 52.8%
4. Milwaukee’s Best
> Sales loss (2006-2011): 57.1%
3. Budweiser Select
> Sales loss (2006-2011): 60.8%
2. Michelob Light
> Sales loss (2006-2011): 66.3%
> Sales loss (2006-2011): 72.0%