Millennials’ changing tastes are loosening beer’s stranglehold on the U.S. alcohol market.
That’s the story from Ad Age’s E.J. Schultz, who reports that the growth in popularity of wine and spirits has caused beer’s share of the total domestic booze market to plummet by more than 7% since 1999.
Now, beer makes up just 48.8% of alcohol sales in the U.S. In other words, for the first time in decades, a majority of Americans are NOT choosing beer as their No.1 booze.
Chief among the victims are the two biggest beer manufacturers, MillerCoors and Anheuser-Busch InBev, who are losing market share not only to novelty flavored liquors — like Smirnoff Cinna-Sugar Twist — but also to craft beers that have fragmented the market. “Eight of the top 10 u.s. beer brands lost share at stores in the 52 weeks ended Aug. 11,” Ad Age notes, referring to brands like Budweiser, Bud Light, and Coors Light.
In March, Budweiser’s market testing began questioning “the very nature” of its beer, but Ad Age suggests that the answer to reversing the beer industry’s fortunes could be to produce more creative, less sexist advertising.
Women make up just 20% of the beer drinking market, a problem that could be attributable to campaigns like Miller Lite’s “Man Law” ads that branded beer-drinking as a strictly male pursuit and Coors Light’s “Twins” commercials that proudly objectified women.
As evidenced by Guinness’ fantastic wheelchair basketball ad that launched a few weeks back, the industry is working to produce ads with fewer cheap laughs and scantily clad women. If the industry can present beer-drinking as something a woman might also like to do, it just might be able to turn things around.
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