Top 10 most popular beer brands in the US

Nell Walker
- Top 10 - May 26, 2017

BevSpot, a bar management software platform, has been adopted by hundreds of bars and restaurants across 46 US states and a few international markets, allowing them ease of controlling inventory, ordering, invoicing, and sales data. The Boston-based company published a list of the most popular beers at the end of 2016, according to its distributor order data and what has sold best on BevSpot; here are the top 10.

10. Lagunitas

Founded in 1993, the Californian Lagunitas Brewing Company has become well-known for its ironic takes on more traditional types of beer, plus the convoluted tales it prints on its packaging. As of 2014 it was the fifth best-selling craft brewery in America, and has also been one of the fastest-growing since the mid-noughties. Thanks to its massive expansion in recent years, with millions being poured into growing its brewing capacity and many new sites being constructed, Heineken took notice in 2015 and acquired a 50 percent stake. While this means that Lagunitas can no longer be classified as a ‘craft’ brewer, it also means a far greater global impact.

9. Samuel Adams

Samuel Adams – so named after one of the founding fathers of the United States – began brewing in 1984 in Boston. The brand (usually shortened to Sam Adams) still uses traditional brewing processes to create drinks based on co-founder Jim Koch’s great-great grandfather’s original recipe, and as well as selling its staple beers year-round, it releases seasonal beers with flavours tailored to spring, summer, autumn, and winter. As the flagship brand of the Boston Beer Company, Sam Adams has an enduring legacy in the US.

8. Guinness

One of the most famous beer brands in the world, Guinness originated in Dublin, Ireland in 1759, at St. James’s Gate brewery by Arthur Guinness. The drink is well known for its strong, sour flavour and the creamy texture of the foam on top. Guinness is not only popular in Ireland, but the world over; Irish-Americans consider it a part of their heritage, and globally, it is consumed with reverence on St. Patrick’s Day. The brand now has breweries in over 50 countries, is available in 120, and in 2011, Guinness sold 220,000,000 US gallons.

7. Ballast Point

Established in 1996, Ballast Points Brewing & Spirits Company was the first microdistillery in San Diego since the prohibition era. It has won gold medals for its beers, and in 2013 and 2014 the company’s distillery arm was named the California Distillery of the Year at the New York International Spirits Competition. Founder Jack White’s passion for beer (beginning with brewing his own at university) has stood him in good stead, and while other executives of the company have come and gone, White remains as Founder. As of December 2015, Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits is owned by Constellation Brands.

6. Harpoon

Known for its popular brand of pale ale, Harpoon begun in 1986 in Boston, Massachusetts. It was the first brewery with permission to make and sell alcohol in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in over 25 years, and even with just two sites (the other being in Windsor, Vermont), as of 2013, Harpoon was the twelfth largest craft brewery in the US. It creates several year-round beers, four seasonal varieties, and occasional unique batches. Local fans can also enjoy annual festivals held at the Boston brewery, which contribute both to charities with fundraising activities and the strengthening of the community.

5. Stella Artois

A pilsner first brewed in Belgium in 1926, Stella Artois – owned by Interbrew International B.V. – is one of the most popular beer brands in the world. Originally created as a festive winter beer, Stella Artois quickly became a year-round drink, with production only briefly suspended during World War II. While traditionally more popular in the UK and across Europe, the beer has become well-loved in the US, boosted in 2011 by a Super Bowl commercial featuring Adrien Brody.

4. Coors

Produced by the Coors Brewing Company – a subsidiary of the Molson Coors Brewing Company, the world’s third-largest brewing business – Coors beer itself was originally a regional product popular in an 11-state area of the west. This relative exclusivity meant that those outside of the west considered the beer a novelty, and popularised it by taking cases home. By the mid-80s, the company was distributing across the US. The company was the first American brewer to use all-aluminium cans in 1959, and is well known for its distinctive Coors Light ‘Silver Bullet’ packaging.

3. Miller

This Milwaukee native company, established in 1855, was founded by the German Frederick Miller and remained family-owned until 1966 when his granddaughter, who objected to alcohol, sold it to W. R. Grace and Company. Its parent company is now former rival Molson Coors, in a joint venture named MillerCoors. Miller is known not just for its own Genuine Draft beer, but also the multi award-winning Hamm’s beers and Plank Road Brewery Icehouse and Red Dog beers.

2. Corona

Produced in Mexico since 1925, Corona Extra is a pale lager and one of the best-selling beers globally. Split ownership means that the drink is produced by Constellation Brands for the US and Cervecería Modelo for everywhere else, including domestically. Outside of Mexico, Corona is generally served with a wedge of lime or lemon in the neck of the bottle, and the beer is well known for its light flavour and easy drinkability.

1. Bud Light

Produced by Anheuser-Busch, Budweiser was established as a brand in 1876, and is one of the highest-selling beers in the US. It is available all over the world, originally created as a ‘bohemian-style’ lager fashioned after local beer sampled by Adolphus Busch and Carl Conrad in České Budějovice. Budweiser is generally shortened simply to ‘Bud’, and the brand capitalised on its popularity by introducing Bud Light in 1982. Its flagship light beer is just 110 calories per 355ml, and received a huge long-running marketing boost from 1993 to 1998 when its commercials featured characters from The Dick Van Dyke Show.

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