Big beer brands have suffered most in the US on-trade, out of all categories

Big beer brands have suffered most in the US on-trade, out of all categories

Big brands across all alcohol categories in the US have lost combined share in the on-trade this year, with top-selling beers suffering the most as new products have proliferated, according to latest figures.

In beer, the three biggest-selling brands - Bud Light, Miller Lite and Coors Light – saw their combined on-trade share in the first nine months of 2013 fall from 27.4% to 25.5%, tracking firm GuestMetrics said yesterday (3 November). The three brands, which account for 25% of on-trade volumes, saw shipments drop by 10%.

The remaining 75% of the market saw a 1% drop in volumes. “This tail not only includes craft brands, but also successful innovation from the big brewers,” GuestMetrics said. The company pointed to a “rapid proliferation” in the number of beer brands sold in the US on-trade, up by 21% in the year-to-date. 

For spirits, the top six on-trade brands - Grey Goose, Jack Daniel's, Ketel One, Patron, Absolut, Crown Royal – saw a 0.8% market share loss to 24.3% in the nine-month period, representing a volume drop of 5% for the brands. The rest of the on-trade spirits market combined has lost 1% of volumes.

“Given the top brands have a 31% price premium to the tail, part of the share loss could be due to price sensitivity among consumers,” said GuestMetrics. An 8% rise in the number of brands being sold could also be a factor, the company flagged. 

In wine, the top 150 brands, accounting for 25% of US on-trade volumes, also saw their market share fall, down 0.8 share points to 25.3%. In the nine months, volumes for the leading brands fell 4%, while the rest of the combined market saw shipments down by 0.5%.

GuestMetrics said pricing could be a driver as “the price/mix for the top brands increased 4.8% versus the 2.7% increase from the tail, resulting in near price parity between the top brands and the tail brands”. The total number of wine brands sold in the US on-trade is “flattish” year-on-year, the company noted.