Changing Beer Tastes (And Non-Tastes)

MichelobMSN Money sends us to an article telling us about 5 Beers Americans Aren’t Drinking. That’s the kind of title that is hard to resist—at least if you are a beer drinker, or even more, a beer snob. Which I am.

According to the article, sales of “traditional, full-calorie beers” are declining. A lot. In 5 years, Budweiser has sold 7 million barrels less per year in the United States. How much is that? Anheuser-Busch (the brewer of Budweiser) produced 125 million barrels in 2007—that is all brands for all the world.

Why would these beers be dropping in sales? The article doesn’t actually say. But I think I know. People who want to drink a real beer have decided to, you know, drink a real beer. Budweiser is about as expensive as good beer. So there really is no reason to drink a watery, high calorie beer when you could drink a beer you can sink your teeth into. Maybe Pete’s Wicked Ale or Arrogant Bastard. Or if you are on the other side of the divide, you could drink Bud Light or whatever.

You can see this in the top five beers Americans no longer drink:

  1. Michelob
  2. Michelob Light
  3. Budweiser Select
  4. Milwaukee’s Best
  5. Old Milwaukee

I know, two of those are light beers, which kind of goes again the narative of the article. I assume it is because there are just too many light beer brands on the market. Of the remaining beers, one isn’t bad: Michelob. I actually used to buy Michelob Dark. But I haven’t drunk even it since I was in graduate school.

Anyway, I think this shows that the beer market has divided itself between people who want to drink beer and people who are just too embarrassed to order a wine cooler. But I’m feeling generous tonight. Mr. President, if you’re reading this, it’s okay to ask for what you really want. That Bud Light isn’t fooling anyone.

Afterword

I’m not to fond of cops, but at that beer summit, the only one who had a decent beer was Crowley, who had a Blue Moon.

Also: Lowenbrau is a decent beer and they had a great ad campaign long before I knew that:

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

0 thoughts on “Changing Beer Tastes (And Non-Tastes)

  1. Blue Moon (which is very good) is a brand owned by the Coors people — aka, supporters of James Dobson, etc.

    It’s what’s called a "Belgian White" or "Belgian Wheat" or "Belgian Wit" style of beer, and undoubtedly some brewer local to your region makes a similar brew. I only get the local versions when I’ve got a hankering for that particular flavor. Search those style names and the names of your local breweries, and you’ll get several matches.

    Not that it matters much, and not that local breweries are saints. But Coors. Yuck. It’s worth making the effort to avoid giving them one’s money, just on general principles alone.

    Incidentally — and I have no data to back this up, just personal observation — I’m guessing the slight decline of flavorless American beer sales is partly a function of tightened ID enforcement. When I was a kid, buying beer was pretty easy, if one store bothered to ID you, another wouldn’t. And Bud/Coors/Miller were the beers of choice, as they tasted like water and got you drunk (eventually.)

    Now I imagine kids looking to get wasted have an easier time getting drugs than beer (yet another argument for drug legalization and regulation, were more necessary), so legal drinkers are increasingly choosing brews that taste like actual beer.

  2. @JMF – Yeah, I knew that about Blue Moon. I spent quite a lot of time on BeerAdvocate.com. It isn’t that Coors makes Blue Moon, though; they just own Blue Moon Brewing. Regardless, Blue Moon is a drinkable beer, but hardly great. Arrogant Bastard is about the best beer I’ve found in the last many years.

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