Light beer losing its appeal
Brewers are trying to revive the segment after seeing 3 years of sales declines.
Here's beer's problem, according to Bloomberg. Baby boomers prefer wine, while millennials like exotic cocktails. Compared with those beverages, light beer is about as exciting as a glass of milk.
Light-beer drinkers are also struggling with high unemployment, which means they are buying less. Or, in some cases, they're viewing beer as more of a treat and buying more expensive, full-flavored brews.
So the beer industry is trying to change with the times. Molson Coors Brewing has created an iced-tea beer called Coors Light Iced T. The beer will launch in Canada next month and may expand to the U.S. Anheuser Busch (BUD) poured a ton of money into its high-profile launch of Bud Light Platinum, which has 6% alcohol, compared with 4.2% for regular Bud Light.
Molson Coors and SABMiller are also revving up the advertising for Miller Lite. They're no longer advertising low carbs and low calories. That just doesn't sit well with the beer crowd anymore. Now the companies are bringing back the "It's Miller Time" line and emphasizing friends drinking together.
Beer sales have dropped for three years now, according to Bloomberg. The only light beer seeing any traction is Coors Light, which surpassed Budweiser to become the No. 2 beer in America (Bud Light is still tops).
The following video has more details about how Coors Light became No. 2.
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The momentum is with wine and particularly spirits, and companies like Beam (BEAM) are capitalizing on that trend with new cocktails. Within the beer industry, craft brews are hot -- and you only have to look at the share price spike for The Boston Beer Co. (SAM) to see how that's going.
Miller Lite is also remodeling its cans to have more masculine appeal. Is Miller giving up on women?
At any rate, look for a lot more soul searching and new experimentation within the beer industry. One year of sales declines is enough of a concern, but three straight years? Something needs to change, and fast.
"Light beer has become a commodity," a beer industry adviser told Bloomberg. If the companies can't revive the brands, "we've got big trouble ahead of us."
The owners of Coors, Budwieser and Guiness go to have a drink together. The waiter comes and asks them each what they want.
"I want a Coors", the owner of Coors says, "because I own the Coors company."
"We'll," the owner of Budwiser says, "I want a Bud because I own Budwieser."
The owner of Guiness thinks about it for a second and says, "I'll have a water. If these guys aren't drinking beer, I ain't either."
Light beer isn't real beer.
Changing the shape of a beer can won't help. Changing the numbers at the gas pump might.
My husband and I drank light beer when we were dating and for the first couple years of our marriage... when we would go through a couple cases a week. Then we had a family and drinking beer is no longer about getting sloshed, but sitting down at the end of the day and relaxing with one or two. When you want to actually enjoy the beer and you only need a six pack or two for the week, you tend to look for something that tastes better.
The baby boomers are past their light beer drinking stage...
They ought to try beer with actual flavor. I haven't had a Big 3 beer in about 5 years. I prefer the richer flavor of the Sam Adams, Shiner, and other smaller breweries as well as the traditonal German brews.
I may be in the minotory but I don't drink beer to get drunk and pee.
Light beer losing its appeal
I never knew it had appeal in the first place. It's basically flavored water.
As a PhD in beer, all I can say is "Finally, Beer will be Beer again".
I just hope that the owners of the "big lights" don't kill too many of fine breweries by buying them and making them to make "Big Bud", "Coors Might", etc.
I hope the real brewers will grow and the Bud's will dry out.
Long live Sam Adams, Saranac, Long Trail, Brooklyn Brewery, Dog Fish, Omegang, Alagash...
And may our Belgian brothers toil in peace.
Do you think that the increase in price over the last 18 months was ant reason to stop buying Miller, Bud etc...????I' not going to pay 15.00 to 20.00 for my beer...
I drink beer as a substitute for soda, juice or most any other drink at the end of a day. Therefore, light beer is great for that feeling of hydration or wetting-my-whistle, while not worrying too much about getting "buzzed". Personally, my buying behavior only changed when AB became InBev (German?), Coors became Molson (Canadian) and Miller became SAB (South African?). Since, I've switched to US beer manufacturers like Yuengling (if available), Shiner, or any of the local micro beers.
The article insinuates that a majority of light beer drinkers are blue-collar ("unempoyed"). Since many blue-collared folks are highly patriotic, becoming "global" (foreign) manufacturers might be part of Bud, Coors and Miller's lost sales. It's no surprise to me that Coors took over Bud's spot, since buying from Canada is much closer to home for some patriots who cannot find an alternative US-made light beer.
@Indy30: I agree. For me and my entourage light beer was a cheap way to get "there." Now, I enjoy beer for its flavor so I'll spring for quality..
But on another front, I'm sorta glad Light Beer sales is falling. Maybe if they spent more money on making it taste better instead of the relentless mind numbing barrage of tv commercials they'd have more sales.. In fact, I find funny that many light beer commercials say nothing about the beer but try instead some other witty gimmick...and I get it.. "marketting." Sell me an image and I'll buy the beer to capture that image." But I'm pretty sure I don't speak for myself when I say this: the college drinker (which I was) is not thinking about your commercials when buying beer. They're worried about price, and in MANY cases.. their id working. Not once did I or anyone I know say: "hey, lets get ____, they got funny commercials."
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