The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

US big beer brands take a hit

rsz_big_brandsNew sales figures make sobering reading for the producers of some of America’s biggest beers. Data from Beer Marketer’s Insights show seven major brands that have lost significant sales (at least 20%) between 2013 and 2008. It includes major brands that New Zealanders will be familiar with, and several which are stocked on Kiwi supermarket shelves.

Here is the list and the percentage sales drop over 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%

These large drops are attributed to a range of factors, most of which are likely to be applicable to the New Zealand market. Due to increasing beer prices, some US customers may have moved to now relatively less expensive wines and spirits. Sales for imported beers, particularly Mexican imports, were growing.

There was also the continuing switch to craft beer. At time where overall beer sales were going down, craft beer shipments rose by 80.1% from 2008 to 2013. However, craft beer remains a niche product with 7.6% of the lucrative American beer market. There has been a similar sales trend in New Zealand but the percentage of craft beer sales here, depending on the exact definition of craft, may actually be slightly higher.

Source: Brookston Beer Journal (, 24/7 Wall Street, Beer Marketer’s Insights