PORTLAND, Ore. (TheStreet) -- Small craft brewers and the craft divisions of huge international breweries can talk about wheat beers, shandies and even IPA all they'd like: This is still lager country.
Despite recent gains by craft beer and recent shifts by Anheuser-Busch InBev, MolsonCoors and SABMiller toward brands including Blue Moon, Shock Top, Goose Island and Leinenkugel's, the overwhelming majority of beer sold in this country is lager or some derivative thereof. It's been so relentless and pervasive that even hard-line craft beer advocates have begun embracing it in its light, familiar form.
Consider that MolsonCoors/SABMiller's MillerCoors and Anheuser-Busch InBev still sell about 74% of the beer this nation drinks. Consider further that Corona and Heineken make up roughly another 10% of that market. Throw Pabst, Modelo and newly "craft" brewer Yuengling into the equation and 18 of the 20 best-selling beers in the U.S. are some form of either lager or pilsner.You can argue that most are losing sales -- and many including Budweiser, Bud Light, Miller Lite and Busch are. But import brands including Heinkeken, Corona and Modelo saw sales rise even during the recession. The same holds true for Coors Light, Pabst Blue Ribbon and Yuengling, with each posting double-digit percentage point gains in 2012 alone, according to Beer Marketer's Insights. Also see: Session IPA Is Taking Over Summer Beer
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