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Tough Times Boosting Budget Beers

Americans may love kicking back with beer, but times are tough. That's why an increasing number of beer drinkers are swapping their microbrews for what are called "subpremium" beers in the beverage industry.

Anheuser-Busch has reported that its brands Busch and Natural Light have seen upticks in sales. Other beers — from Miller High Life to Milwaukee's Best to Hamm's to Keystone — have also been attracting a larger percentage of consumers.

To the beer industry's dismay, the increase in subpremium beer sales is happening at the expense of its higher-end beers, such as Budweiser and Miller Genuine Draft. Said one MillerCoors wholesaler: "I'm selling way more economy brands than I'm comfortable with . . . consumers are trading down."

Is this the case for you? Have you also been purchasing less costly beer options?


Join The Conversation
DarlingDA DarlingDA 8 years
I've always been a beer snob, and go for Sierra Nevada, New Belgium or Lost Coast breweries. Just this Saturday, I bought a six pack of Great White (a Lost Coast beer) - I never even considered getting cheaper beer, it was either that or nothing!
milosmommy milosmommy 8 years
My family are mexican beer snobs so it's usually Corona or Pacifico which ever is on sale. Just the thought of Natty Lite or Ice give me awful flash backs of my ex-husband so that would never even come close to entering my house.
mtiger mtiger 8 years
I haven't noticed the cost increase in beer. My boyfriend and I buy the beer we want, no matter what the cost.
mondaymoos mondaymoos 8 years
I love Pabst, but strangely, it's hard to find here... so no, I won't be giving up my Fat Tire for yucky tasting beer.
summerteeth summerteeth 8 years
I'll stick with my Leinenkugel's. Also, Goose Island's beers are pretty good, too.
TidalWave23 TidalWave23 8 years
yaksmilk - I haven't tried San Miguel yet but I'll definitely be on the look out for it! I'd definitely try the "beer cooler" :) - Thanks for the tip!
superfoxml superfoxml 8 years
I don't drink beer, but I do drink wine and there are so many FABULOUS low cost wines out there that I haven't had to worry about the cost.
gingirl gingirl 8 years
Ah, my brother and his friends are HUGE Pabst fans. I've tried it and didn't hate it. But I'm not a huge beer drinker anyway, so really if I'm at a party or somebody's house I'll just drink whatever is around. Doesn't make much of a difference to me. I'm more of a Bay Breeze kinda girl when the mood strikes.
simplyfab87 simplyfab87 8 years
I thought only college kids at frat parties drank Natty Light and the Beast. Yuck!
verily verily 8 years
Heck no. I despise budget macro beers and would never buy them willingly. I haven't noticed a price increase in beer yet. My usual micros are still about $7-8 a six pack. If I'm concerned about my budget, I just don't drink! A jug of iced tea costs pennies to make.
heartbreakerx62x heartbreakerx62x 8 years
OMG, I LIVED off of Carlo Rossi in college! I am ALL about the cheap wine, but my boyfriend loves to drink nothing other than Natty light! When I do drink beer that is what I grab, especially because it has one of the lowest calorie counts for beer and its cheap - best of both worlds!
esk4 esk4 8 years
has it really gotten so bad that Bud, and MGD are considered higher end??? I mean really if those were my only options I'd rather drink water... Micro-brews might cost a bit more, but most aren't that expensive and you get such better flavor, and quality. but I guess if you don't know any better you might tink bud was good... kinda like how when you are a kid you think herseys is the best chocolate ever..
tlsgirl tlsgirl 8 years
We used to call Milwaukee's Best "Beast" in college, so no thanks. And Natty Light? Worst hangover ever. Now that I've graduated I think I'll just stick with the mid-range stuff.
yaksmilk yaksmilk 8 years
@TidalWave23 Pacifico rules! I like San Miguel too. In Spain, they mix it with lemon soda and it's awesome -- a beer cooler. But on the cheap cheap, I'd have to go with my old-school favs Schlitz and Blatz. Gotta say Pabst is one of my least-favorite alcohols. Schlitz and Blatz are definitely acquired tastes but at least they taste like something (grape soda, sort of). Ballantine is pretty good and cheap too -- a little spicy. Carlo Rossi -- it's wine but the booze for your buck is outta sight and it's not nearly as wretch as MD 20/20 or malt liquor. When I lived in New Orleans art galleries would put it out for free on First Monday or whatever it's called on Magazine Street. If you can't stand the taste, I mix it wine with Coke and ice and call it a Poor JC.
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
Not beer, but I drink Rebel Yell a lot more than Jameson now (it's like half the price at Trader Joe's).
TidalWave23 TidalWave23 8 years
And pilsners... Has anyone ever tried Pacifico? It's a fabulous Mexican beer that I recently tried and loved. It's heavier than a Corona and tastes great with or without lime.
TidalWave23 TidalWave23 8 years
gooniette - i agree. I didn't even realize that MGD and Bud were considered the "high-end" brands. I find them both pretty disgusting and would prefer a microbrew. I'm also a huge fan of wheat beers and pale ales.
bluebellknoll bluebellknoll 8 years
I agree, gooniette. I drink a lot of microbrews (my hubby is a beer snob) plus, I live in Portland, OR and there are a bazillion breweries here. But I do like to have a PBR every once in awhile...but I wouldn't call it trading down. :)
gooniette gooniette 8 years
Wow, for me, Budweiser Is trading down...
TidalWave23 TidalWave23 8 years
Natty lite and MGD are gross to me. I agree with shoneyjoe, I'd rather drink less beer (of a better brand) than buy a subpremium brand.
Soniabonya Soniabonya 8 years
Heck no, not tradng down. I'll just cut back on the drinking :p Still going to get the microbrewed drinks. Quality over quantity. MGD and the others aren't bad, heck I grew up on MGD, but it doesn't mean I can't enjoy local brews. BTW, just went to Pyramid Brew. Yum!
hippiecowgirl hippiecowgirl 8 years
I don't drink beer, but my husband does. I think he'd rather drink nothing at all than drink Natty Light. Blech!
esk4 esk4 8 years
I don't care how expensive beer gets I will never stoop to Beast... MGD isn;t horrible, and if you absulutly must go budget keystone light isn't horrible either... Rolling rock used to be an awesome cheap choice for pale ale, butt hen budwieser bought it and raised the price...
shoneyjoe shoneyjoe 8 years
NO. I'll drink less beer overall before I spend money on that stuff.
lawchick lawchick 8 years
sonya you beat me, PBR is soo good and insanely cheap. no way would I drink natty light or busch, shudder
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