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Beer Brands That Make a Difference in the US Market

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Major beer companies

The major beer producers in the United States are Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD) (ABI.BR), MillerCoors, Pabst Brewing Co., D.G. Yuengling and Son Inc., Heineken USA a subsidiary of Heineken (HEINY) (HEIA.AS), Diageo (DEO) (DGE.L), and Boston Beer (SAM).

Most of the top brands belong to industry leaders such as Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors, which is a joint venture between Molson Coors (TAP) and SABMiller (SBMRY) (SAB.L).

About 19.6% of the Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLP) is allocated to beverages. Boston Beer makes up ~0.12% of the iShares Russell 2000 ETF (IWM), which invests in small cap companies.

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Major beer brands

Bud Light is the leader among the major beer brands, with 18% share of the beer market based on the 2013 total beer industry shipments of 211.7 million barrels. Coors Light, Budweiser, and Miller Lite have a market share of 8.7%, 8.4%, and 7.2%, respectively.

Of the top ten brands based on US shipments, six (Bud Light, Budweiser, Natural Light, Busch Light, and Busch) belong to Anheuser-Busch InBev. Two of the brands in the top-ten list, Coors Light and Miller Lite, are owned by MillerCoors.

Constellation Brands (STZ), through its Crown Imports division, owns rights to Corona Extra in the United States. Corona Extra is one of the best selling imported beers in the United States.

Declining shipments

In 2013, shipments for seven of the top ten brands declined. Most of declining beer brands in 2013 belonged to the light beer category. Light beer is generally defined as a beer with low alcohol content. Shipments of Michelob Ultra, a high-end beer brand of Anheuser-Busch InBev, witnessed a 7.2% growth.

Light beers have been declining continuously as more and more consumers are opting for premium drinks. Consumers are also shifting to other categories such as spirits and wine. Also, the growing popularity of small brands and craft beers is impacting large beer companies. We’ll take a look at the growth in craft beers in a later part of this series.

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