Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Bottom of the Ninth

I'm sick—but the blog must go on.

24/7wallst.com has released a list of the 9 beers that Americans no longer drink. The statistics were complied over five years from 2006 to 2011 and include those beers which have lost 30% or more in sales. They are Milwaukee's Best and Best Light, Miller High Life Light, Amstell Light, Miller Genuine Draft, Old Milwaukee, Budweiser Select, Michelob and Michelob Light. The lowest sales loss percentage of theses beers is Milwaukee's Best with a 35.5% decline, and the highest is Michelob at 72% loss.

The article attributes all of this decline, firstly to he rise and dominance of light beers—like Bud and Coors Light; then to the light "premium" and/or craft-ish beers, including Shocktop, Blue Moon and Michelob Ultra; and finally as a result of the pressure from craft and small-market beers. The article notes—from an interview with Beer Marketer’s INSIGHTS executive editor Eric Shepard—that the industry blames a lack of innovation for the decline, but puts most of the blame on the economy.

I've got to say the "economy" thing is a bit of a cop-out. Yeah, I get that a shitty economy affects everything, but—from my house—this decline isn't about one beer being better than another, but rather an over-saturation in the marketplace. ABInBev and MillerCoors made a poorly calculated decision and flooded the marketplace with too many beers—the old "everything to everyone" pitfall—and it's come back to bite them in the ass. How much different is what the American brewing industry has done over the last twenty years than what the American automotive industry has done—repackaging of the same product under a different name? ABInbev sells fifteen American light Lagers alone—fifteen!

Just by the law of supply and demand something has got to give.

Okay, back to being sick. Ack.

1 comment:

  1. As for Michelob, I remember it well in the 1970's. It was a very decent beer, but had the rice adjunct that was first added about 1960 (before that, from inception in 1896, it was all-malt).

    It was returned to all-malt some years ago but never tasted as good to me as 40 years ago even though it was then an adjunct beer. It seemed drier and with little of the signature hop blend I remember.

    I would think in 1896 or even 1950 it must have been outstanding. It is no surprise to me that this beer and its light stablemate have not done well in recent years. They just don't offer enough of an alternative between craft beer and the big, well-known national light brands. I'd think the same applies to the other brands mentioned for the most part, although some clearly are price brands which for their part are just having a harder time to distinguish themselves in a proliferating market.

    As for Amstel Light, it is excellent, a tasty beer when most lights are not, but the import status probably dissuades more people from buying it, it has an urban "upscale" image that may be limiting, IMO.