Here’s the thing: I understand that my personal tastes and those of America as a whole don’t always overlap. See, for example, the success of CBS sitcoms. Still, though, this list of America’s 10 fastest growing beer brands, compiled by 24/7 Wall Street, is discouraging.
As the author puts it: “Many of the nation’s fastest growing beer brands would be difficult to distinguish from one another in a blind taste test. Beer critics also generally rate these brands very poorly.”
Let’s resolve to do better in 2017. But first, let’s take a closer look at this list. Because if you don’t learn from past drinking mistakes, you’re doomed to repeat them. Warning: Beer snobbery ahead.
10. Corona Extra (Sales change (2010-2015): 17.7%)
Corona has its time (summer) and place (outside), even if Bud Light Lime has basically replaced it and saved millions of Americans from drunken lime-cutting accidents. No word on whether this rise in Corona sales correlates with a 17.7% rise in Jimmy Buffett concert.
9. Pabst Blue Ribbon (Sales change (2010-2015): 19.6%)
PBR! As the article says: “Since Pabst had not invested substantially in any advertising, one explanation for the growth was the appeal to young people of precisely the lack of a brand image.” Put more succinctly: Because hipsters.
8. Corona Light (Sales change (2010-2015): 19.6%)
I’ve contributed to this one. Corona Light tastes exactly the same as Corona and you’re saving 49 calories. Plus, when you order one at happy hour with your attractive friends, the dive bar you’re in magically transforms into a beach. So you’ve got that going for you.
7. Coors Banquet (Sales change (2010-2015): 23.1%)
Coors isn’t great, but it’s better than Coors Light, the “Banquet” thing sounds classy, they’ve got some nice old-school cans, and you definitely have at least one uncle who drinks it exclusively.
6. Bud Ice (Sales change (2010-2015): 28.5%)
Fun fact: In cheap beer terms, “Ice” means bonus alcohol. While Bud Light checks in at 4.2%, Bud Ice weighs in at 5.5%. So you could drink this if you’re trying to get drunk faster. Or you could just do a shot.
5. Blue Moon (Sales change (2010-2015): 53.4%)
Blue Moon is a gateway beer. First it’s Blue Moon. Next you try some similar-but-better beers. Then, before you know it, you become an insufferable craft beer drinker bragging about the obscure Belgian Quad you tried the other night. It can happen to you.
4. Michelob Ultra (Sales change (2010-2015): 54.8%)
Just 95 calories and a respectable 4.2% ABV. I can see the appeal. Now if they can figure out how to make it taste like beer, they’ll really be on to something.
3. Dos Equis (Sales change (2010-2015): 94.9%)
We can agree that this meteoric rise is 100% attributable to the Most Interesting Man in the World, yes? This year, Dos Equis retired him and replaced him with a younger, less grizzled, more Michael Phelps-y version. Will the new guy continue the magic? Stay skeptical, my friends.
2. Stella Artois (Sales change (2010-2015): 123.7%)
Branding FTW. As the author notes: “As a light lager, Stella Artois is not materially different from many other mass produced beers.” But with a fancy name and some chalices, those crafty Belgians convinced us that Stella is the nectar of the gods.
1. Modelo Especial (Sales change (2010-2015): 135.3%)
And the fastest-growing beer brand in these here United States is Modelo Especial. 24/7 Wall St attributes this to the growing Hispanic market, but don’t forget about the people-at-Mexican-restaurants-who-can’t-possibly-drink-one-more-margarita market.