Budweiser loses out to craft beer in US

25th November, 2014 by Lauren Eads

Millennial drinkers are shunning the US’s self-proclaimed “King of Beers” in favour of craft, with shipments outnumbering those of Budweiser for the first time.


Source: Beer Marketer’s Insights

This infographic published by the Wall Street Journal shows the stark change in tastes among American beer drinkers in recent years with craft beer successfully elbowing its way into a market previously dominated by big brands such as Budweiser.

After 10 years, 2013 marks a turning point with craft beer shipments edging above those of Budweiser for the first time, as Budweiser volumes continue to drop. Even more alarming for Budweiser, is that according to its parent company AB InBev, 44% of 21 to 27-year-olds have never even tried a Budweiser.

Despite maintaining its place as the third-most popular brand in America and fourth biggest beer brand in the world, Budweiser, along with other big beer brands, is facing continued competition from craft beer in the US which is hugely popular with millennials.

US craft beer brewers saw an 18% increase to production volumes in the run up to July 2014, compared to the same six-month period in 2013.

Data released by the Brewers Association (BA), the trade that represents the majority of US craft breweries, shows that the size of the craft market in the country has more than doubled in just four years.

Budweiser meanwhile has been in decline in the US for the past 25 years having hit its peak in 1988 when it shipped 50 million barrels, down to 16 million in 2013.

While craft beer has undoubtedly contributed to its declining market share, Bud Light, the brand’s sister beer, has also taken its toll having long overtaken its predecessor in the world beer stakes thanks to a continually health conscious market.

The statistics show a clear shift in tastes with craft beer, which prides itself on its origins and small batch production, and lower-calorie brews increasingly finding favour with millennial consumers.

In a bid to stem its losses Budweiser is reported to now be pushing all of its marketing toward the 21 to 27 year old age group, which is likely to result in a shift in its advertising.

Last year Budweiser released a can shaped like a bow-tie with the intention of attracting millennials to the brand and earlier this year served as the official sponsor of the 2014 Fifa World Cup in Brazil.

Earlier this month Anheuser-Busch acquired the Oregon-based craft brewer 10 Barrel Brewing Co – a company it described as “one of the country’s fastest-growing and most innovative breweries” – signalling its ambition to establish itself in the craft beer market.

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