Beer Giants Merger Affects St. Louis

FILE PHOTO: Georgia Glymore, a bottler, makes quality control checks on bottles of Budweiser moving down the production line in the Bevo Packaging Plant on Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015, at A-B InBev's operation in St. Louis. Photo by J.B. Forbes, jforbes@post-dispatch.com

The King of Beers has slipped to fourth place.

In the U.S., Budweiser was eclipsed by Miller Lite in 2017, according to sales estimates released Monday from industry publication Beer Marketer’s Insights.

Bud Light continues its reign as the top-selling beer in the U.S., followed by Coors Light.

Bud Light knocked Budweiser to second place in 2001. Both beers are made by Anheuser-Busch InBev, which has its U.S. headquarters in St. Louis. Last year, A-B featured St. Louis in its Super Bowl ad, touting Budweiser’s local roots that date back to 1876.

Budweiser has grown its international sales but its U.S. sales have been declining for decades.

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Anheuser-Busch’s flagship Budweiser beer now sells less than a third as much as it did in 1988, when the market was less crowded, according to Eric Shepard, the executive editor of Beer Marketer’s Insights, a trade publication focused on beer industry statistics and trends.

In response to the lower ranking, Budweiser vice president Ricardo Marques noted Budweiser’s leading position in the lager category. “Budweiser remains the leader of the classic lager segment — and continues to see consistent improvements in brand health and consideration, with consideration being the number one indicator of future sales,” Marques said in a statement to the Post-Dispatch. “Budweiser is in a strong position for the future, and we are very confident in our current plans and the year ahead of us.”

All four of America’s best-selling beers posted declining domestic sales in 2017, according to market research firm IRI, which tracks sales at “off-premise” locations like supermarkets and convenience stores.

For the first time ever, the three best-selling beers in America are all light, reduced-calorie domestic lagers.

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