20 best-selling beer brands in America
As any enthusiast can tell you, now is definitely a great time for beer lovers. Indeed, it seems that drinkers are never too far away from something new, sudsy, and delicious. That’s in no small part thanks to a broad legion of craft breweries popping up throughout America’s cities and towns, with new ones entering the fray on what seems to be a weekly basis. It’s therefore no surprise that craft beers grew in terms of sales in 2017, as did imports and what the industry dubs “super premiums.” Domestic premium names like Budweiser, Miller Lite and Coors Light, meanwhile, saw dips to the tune of 2.9%.
Of course, just because flagship products from brands like Coors and Budweiser didn’t sell as well as they did in previous years, that doesn’t mean they didn’t sell. On the contrary, sales of domestic premium beers topped $13 billion in 2017, as Americans still by and large prefer to stick with the names and flavors they know and trust (even when a significant portion of their favorite brands are owned by foreign companies).
All this talk about beer might be making you thirsty. It might also have you wondering which brands sold the most beer in 2017. While Stacker can’t necessarily put a six-pack in your hands, we did take it upon ourselves to list out the 20 best-selling beer brands in America. The list was created using 2017 Statista data that shows the sales of leading domestic beer brands in the United States. The top 20 brands were then ranked from smallest to largest sales. So sit back, pop the top on your brewski of choice, and see who sold the most beer in 2017. The answers may (or may not) surprise you.
#20. Leinenkugels Shandy Seasonal
Sales in U.S. dollars: $70,200,000
In 1922, a German tavern owner didn’t want to run out of good suds while serving thirsty cyclists who’d just competed in a race, so he cut his beer with lemonade and soda in order to increase his supply. That same technique would later inspire Leinenkugel’s to infuse their own product with natural lemonade flavor when crafting a range of refreshing shandy beers. However, it wasn’t until the brand was acquired in 1988 by Miller Brewing that sales truly soared into the stratosphere.
#19. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
Sales in U.S. dollars: $76,000,000
Taking inspiration from the neighboring majestic mountain range, Ken Grossman launched Sierra Nevada in 1980 with the goal of bringing home-brewed flavor to a massive audience. To this day, the brand remains one of the largest and most successful private craft breweries in the country, largely thanks to its popular Pale Ale. In addition to its emphasis on quality, Sierra Nevada is likewise committed to environmental friendly practices—it was named “Green Business of the Year” by the EPA in 2010.
#18. Samuel Adams Seasonal
Sales in U.S. dollars: $80,800,000
Samuel Adams (also known as Sam Adams) might sound like a lager that’s been around for centuries, but its parent brand, Boston Beer Company, wasn’t in fact founded until 1984. That was when co-founder Jim Koch used his great-great grandfather’s recipe to create a flagship beer that was simultaneously smooth, full-bodied and complex. The brand sticks closely to its roots as a craft brewery, and enjoys a massive following as a result—though it’s been hurt in recent times by an onslaught of competition from smaller breweries.
#17. Bud Light Platinum Lager
Sales in U.S. dollars: $84,000,000
In 1876, Budweiser became an instant success by offering beer that was much lighter than the fare of the time, making it a favorite during hot summer months. Bud Light Platinum retains the brand’s signature light flavor and effervescent body while delivering a higher ABV count and a slightly sweeter taste. Available in eye-catching bottles of cobalt blue, Bud Light Platinum is one Budweiser’s lesser sellers, though $84 million in sales is nothing to sneeze at.
#16. Natural Ice
Sales in U.S. dollars: $97,500,000
In the mid-90s, Americans saw a surge of “ice beers”, which are brewed at freezing temperatures and commonly both higher in strength and lower in cost than their mainstream counterparts. To this day, Anheuser-Busch’s Natural Ice remains a top seller. While most beer drinkers would agree that “Natty Ice” isn’t exactly smooth or flavorful, it’s hard to argue with an economic price tag and 5.9% ABV.
#15. Bud Light Lime
Sales in U.S. dollars: $119,200,000
Backed by a $35 million marketing campaign, Bud Light Lime launched in 2008 to wildly successful results. The product is light in both booze and carbs, with a 4.2% ABV and just 116 calories per bottle. If you’re enthusiastic about citrusy light domestics, you’ll be happy to know that Budweiser recently introduced Bud Light Orange, brewed with real orange peels.
#14. Coors Banquet
Sales in U.S. dollars: $124,600,000
German brewing apprentice Adolph Coors came to America to make beer, but wasn’t ready to officially start until he found the ideal water supply. That brought him to Golden, Colorado, where he established what would one day become the largest single-site brewery in the world. Interestingly, it wasn’t until 1991 that Coors was available in all 50 states. Coors Light remains the brand’s best seller, but regular Coors Banquet—the company’s initial offering, reportedly named by the coal miners who first started drinking it—still touts some impressive sales numbers.
#13. Pabst Blue Ribbon
Sales in U.S. dollars: $128,200,000
Started in 1844 in Milwaukee, “PBR” has garnered a reputation as the beer of choice among thrifty drinkers from all walks of life. Available in a bottle, but most often seen in the form of tallboy can, the beer delivers straightforward taste with a light citrus touch. Fun fact: there was period of about twenty-five years in which Pabst used to tie a literal ribbon around the neck of every bottle of Pabst Select. Nowadays, an iconic graphic suffices.
#12. Yuengling Traditional Lager
Sales in U.S. dollars: $149,700,000
America’s oldest operating brewery, Yuengling was founded in 1829 by German immigrant David Gottlob Yuengling. During Prohibition, the brand stayed in business by selling three different types of “near beers,” each of which featured a supremely low ABV. Popular on its own—or when mixed with a stout or porter for a Black and Tan—Yuengling Traditional Lager is amber in color and medium-bodied in taste.
#11. Keystone Light
Sales in U.S. dollars: $160,200,000
Owned by MillerCoors Brewing Company, Keystone Light was introduced in 1989 as light-bodied, less-bitter beer. Over the years, the brand has relied on clever marketing campaigns to make sure it remains popular. One of the more successful campaigns introduced fictional character Keith Stone, a smooth operator with a case of Keystone Light always tucked under his arm. Meanwhile, at least one man actually named Keith Stone might have taken some of those advertisements to heart, driving his car into a house in 2013 after more than a few too many.2018 All rights reserved.