Is Light Beer On The Way Out? Sales Projected To Hit 10-Year Low

It looks like American’s taste for beer is becoming more sophisticated as sales of light beer are projected to hit a ten-year low by 2015.

Once among the most popular, sales of Bud Light, Coors Light, and Miller Lite are becoming less enticing as specialty and craft brews are becoming a common trend among beer drinkers.

According to ay Shanken News Daily report, light beer sales fell by 3.5 percent, to 98.4 million barrels in 2013, and the e-mail newsletter projects that sales will decline by an additional 4.9 million barrels by 2015.

One of the biggest losers in the report is Anheuser-Busch’s leading seller in the light beer market. Bud Light suffered its fifth year of steadily declining sales, decreasing by 3.1 percent to 37.6 million barrels.

Other major light beer brands, Coors Light and Miller Lite also had poor showings, losing 1.5 percent and 5.9 percent of their sales respectively.

Light beer sales are projected to slump by ten percent by 2015.

“We’ve seen shifts in the marketplace over the past decade, yet we’re well-positioned to respond to consumer trends,” said David Almeida, vice president of sales at Anheuser-Busch.

Almeida says that they are trying to bolster the sales of light beer by ramping up marketing efforts on innovative drinks such as the Bud Light Lime Straw-Ber-Rita, focusing particularly on female beer drinkers.

He pointed to innovation in the Bud Light brand, including such new drinks as the Bud Light Lime Straw-Ber-Rita, as well as “significant marketing support and a new creative campaign” to help bolster the company’s signature light beer.

Sales of the beer-cocktail hybrid hit $462 million in 2013, up from $150 million the year before, according to data from IRI, a Chicago market research company.

Anheuser-Busch says the Straw-Ber-Rita was the most successful launch in the beer industry in 2013. The company hopes to keep up the momentum with seasonal flavors, such as apple flavored beer in the near future.

The Shanken News Daily report found that the downturn in light beer sales began in 2009 and lasted until 2012 with the introduction of Bud Light Platinum, a premium light beer that exceeded 1.7 million barrels that year.

However, the premium beer suffered a 19 percent decline and fell by almost 700,000 barrels. The overall loss in light beer popularity, according to Shanken, is the rising popularity in craft brews and specialty imports. It seems the average American’s beer taste buds are becoming just too sophisticated for light beer.

Have you given up on light beer for a more chic beer alternative?

[Photo Credits: New Line Cinema and Chris_J via photo pin]