Tuesday’s ad is for the Coopers 62, from 2011. Although it’s a newer ad, given that I post my own reasons to drink for any given day, this ad certainly spoke to me, despite most of the reasons being fairly pedestrian. But in a sense, that was the point, that any reason was good enough to drink this Australian beer. Whether that’s true, I couldn’t tell you. I like their sparkling ale, but they don’t strike me as a pilsner brewery.
For the last several years, sales of some of the major beer brands have been slipping, and not just the sub-premiums or secondary packages but even once mighty flagships. 24/7 Wall Street has a new list of some of these brands, characterized as Beers Americans No Longer Drink. Using data from Beer Marketer’s Insights, here are seven brands that have lost significant sales, at least 20%, between 2013 and 2008. The negative number following the name is how much sales are down in that six-year period.
- Miller High Life -21.2%
- Budweiser -27.6%
- Milwaukee’s Best Light -40.6%
- Milwaukee’s Best -57.0%
- Miller Genuine Draft -58.3%
- Budweiser Select -61.1%
Some additional analysis and reasons for the decline, according to 24/7 Wall St:
Another key factor in the weakening sales has been price dynamics. “Beer prices were increased more aggressively over the last five years than wine and spirits,” Shepard said. Many people in the industry believe that, as a result, some customers replaced buying beer with the now relatively less expensive wines and spirits, he explained.
Several other products were also gaining at the expense of big brand-name beers, Shepard noted. While some customers have been moving to wine and spirits, others were switching to imported beer, particularly Mexican imports. Indeed, in the five years through 2013, shipments of Mexican brands Dos Equis and Modelo Especial more-than doubled. Similarly, he added, “Some [drinkers] are moving to craft [beer]. Clearly, there’s been a trade-up in the industry.”
Craft beers have largely bucked the overall downtrend in beer sales. From 2008 to 2013, shipments of craft beer rose by 80.1% to a total of more than 16 million barrels, or 7.6% of the U.S. beer market. While the craft beer category now outsells Budweiser, it remains a relatively niche market. For comparison, the nation’s top-selling brand, Bud Light, shipped 38 million barrels in 2013, accounting for 18% of all beer shipped.
Today is the 31st birthday of Nicole Erny, a certified Master Cicerone and passionate beer lover, who used to work at The Trappist and as a “Beer Ambassador” at the CommonWealth Cafe & Public House, both in beautiful downtown Oakland. She also used to work with Ray Daniels’ Cicerone program, but recently left that position for her next adventure. Nicole and I almost worked together on a great-sounding beer project, but alas it fell apart. She’s a great advocate for better beer and has more energy than any three people I know. Join me in wishing Nicole a very happy birthday.
A great shot for Nathan Smith and Nicole’s Beer School at The Trappist several years ago. (photo “borrowed” from Jon Weber’s Beer Obsessed, in the hopes he won’t mind.)
Monday’s ad is for the Brewers’ Society, from 1956. Similar to the ads in America by the United States Brewers Foundation that ran around the same time, the British ads used taglines like “Good Wholesome BEER” and “The best long drink in the world!” After working in the fields all day, making giant hay bales, who wouldn’t be dreaming of a pint of beery goodness? But I love the way they put it. “Beer refreshes you all right — but it does much more than that. It’s an invigorating drink. Beer bucks you up as well as cools you down.”
Sunday’s ad is for Pabst Blue Ribbon, from 1911. I love the outfit on the server, that must be some posh establishment he works for. I love that Pabst is working so hard to position PBR as the classy beer, and especially this sentiment: “Pabst Blue Ribbon is the ultimate choice of all who have a keen faculty of selection.” Priceless. People who who are good at picking things?
Friday’s ad is for Budweiser, a later one from 1983. We just had 5-7 inches of rain dumped on us (not that it will help the drought) but this ad of a waterfall of Budweiser flowing from Bud Can Mountain seemed appropriate. They do say shampooing with beer is good for your hair, but taking a shower under a waterfall would be even cooler.
Thursday’s ad is for Budweiser, from 1965. It’s gatefold two-pager, with an empty bottle of Bud on its side. Only some residual foam remains in the bottle, slowly dripping out, with the tagline “… Every drop tells you why Budweiser is the largest-selling beer in the world.” But does it? Does it really? I remain unconvinced.
“Where America Gets Its Booze” is an interview with America’s “Prohibition Commissioner,” Dr. James M. Doran, who was a chemist. And boy, doesn’t he look like a fun guy in that photo. According to a Time magazine article from the year before, even his wife was trying to help, as “she marshaled a platoon of reinforcements in the form of recipes for nonalcoholic cocktails. She had prepared a Book of Juices to meet the onslaught of the ‘winter social season just ahead.’ She announced a few of her recipes in advance. Explained Mrs. Doran: ‘Prohibition took something away from the American people, but we can give them something just as good—a cocktail that satisfies but does not inebriate.'” Well, that should do it.
Wednesday’s ad is for the Windisch-Muhlhauser Brewing Co., from some time in the late 1800s. The brewery was founded in 1866, in Cincinnati, by Conrad Windisch and Gottleib and Heinrich Muhlhauser, but was later known as the Lion Brewery and later the Burger Brewing Co., before closing in either 1934 or 1973, depending on whose account you believe.