Surprising Draft Stats from Super Bowl ’19

Dear Client:

Here’s another twist in Bud Light’s campaign to crush Miller Lite and Coors Light via #CornGate: According to BeerBoard insights, which tracks $1 billion worth of draft sales across top-volume accounts like Buffalo Wild Wings, Applebee’s, Hooters and more, Bud Light only grew a little bit on Game Day, while Miller Lite and Coors Light were up double digits on premise.

Overall, draft volume for the BeerBoard universe grew almost 6% (it was up double digits last year — a testament to how lame the game was).

LIGHT BEER RULED GAME DAY. Still, light beer had a damn impressive showing during the Big Game: According to the universe that BeerBoard tracks, Bud Light was up 4.6%, while Miller Lite was up 18.1%, and Coors Light was up 20%. Overall, light lagers were up almost 18% for the day.

This was much better than light lagers showing in Super Bowl 2018, where all three big brands were down, with Bud Light and Coors Light down double digits (-11% and -26%, respectively).

LAGERS DOWN… BUD DOWN BIG. But just lagers, meanwhile, were down 13%. Budweiser was reportedly down a whopping 48.9%.

BUT MEXICAN LAGERS — ESP MODELO — WERE UP. Luckily, Mexican lagers were there to help combat that trend, with Modelo up 37.4% and Dos Equis up 4.1%.

BUT CORONA WAS DOWN -12.6% over 2018 (where last year it had been up 16% during The Big Game).

BeerBoard’s JC Whipple put that into context: “Though the brand realized a loss over its 2018 performance, the decrease was in line with the overall Lager decrease (-13.1%). It also moved up to the #9 Lager (from #12 in 2018).”

BIGGEST MOVERS IN GAME TOWNS. In New England, lagers were up almost 12% over 2018, driven by Samuel Adams Boston Lager’s 28% jump.

In Los Angeles, Light Lager was the biggest mover (+11.8%) and was led by a massive spike in Miller Lite volume (+88%).

CRAFT DIPS BIG TIME. Despite Boston Lager’s jump, as we reported in yesterday’s CBD, craft took a surprising dip in this data.
The company reported that craft was down 7% overall across their draft coverage footprint, compared to 2018. More shockingly, “local craft was down by a wider margin, falling 17% over last year’s game.” A function of more people drinking at owned-premise taprooms? Who knows.

(Curious how craft did last Super Bowl? Much better: for 2018’s Big Game, BeerBoard tracked craft up 6% over 2017’s game.)


A-B’s chief of Bud Light, veteran beer marketer Andy Goeler, is on a national tour of distributors to explain the reasoning behind the ad castigating Miller Lite and Coors Light for using corn syrup, we’re told by sources.

First, as predicted, A-B did focus-group the heck out of this ad, and found that consumers generally don’t differentiate between high fructose corn syrup and corn syrup, and that it is a major triggering point in choosing brands to purchase, particularly among women.

Andy also tells distributors that while A-B tested this thoroughly, they also war-gamed every possible response or backlash.

For instance, if MillerCoors comes back and points out that A-B uses corn syrup in certain brands (as they have), A-B says yes but we use it in our budget brands like Busch and Natty, because we pass the savings by using cheaper ingredients onto the consumer (as they have).

If this campaign doesn’t move the needle for Bud Light, Andy says they have at least three other ad campaigns to fall back on.

What about the Bud Light Knight — is he really dead? HBO’s Game of Thrones reportedly insisted that he be killed, but Andy points out that there are mystical forces in GOT whereby knights can be brought back to life. So stay tuned on that.

Andy also reportedly hinted that the ingredients play isn’t over. They have explored pointing out the differences between 6 and 2 row barley, and how they source their hops from farms in Bavaria (Hallertau and Williamette) with the actual farmers discussing why their hops are special. Stay tuned, it’s getting more interesting by the minute.

ED. NOTE: As you can see, we keep making up new hashtags for this story. Submit yours to If yours wins, we’ll send you a BBD t-shirt.


After posting a 9.3% gain in September, import shipments have slowed down considerably.

Import shipments were down 1% in October, and down 0.1% in November, per latest Beer Institute estimates.

Note: the November import report from the BI is about a month late, due to the partial government shutdown. And “it’s unclear” when the BI will receive the numbers for December.

Only two of the top ten countries grew shipments during November: Mexico (#1) and Italy (#7). Imports from Mexico and Italy both grew double-digits during the month, up 10.9% and 15.1%, respectively. But that simply isn’t enough when six of the top ten source countries are down double-digits during the month.

So how has this slow moving couple of months affected the YTD trend? Well, in September, the YTD trend stood at +5.1%, but after the two down months, the YTD trend now sits at +4.1%.

Nevertheless, BI chief economist Michael Uhrich notes that the 4.1% trend through November 2018 is still “nearly a full point stronger than during the same period in 2017.”


The excise tax relief that our nation’s breweries, distilleries, wineries, and cideries currently enjoy, thanks to Congress passing the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act in December 2017, is set to expire as soon as 2020 rolls around.

A broad group of trade associations representing bev alc suppliers are giving it everything they got to ensure this relief is permanent, or at least extended.

Yesterday, the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (CBMTRA) was reintroduced in the U.S. Senate. Sponsoring the bill were two familiar faces” Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Roy Blunt (R-MO)” the same two Senators that reintroduced the legislation in 2017.

As a refresher, “the legislation introduced today would keep the federal excise tax on beer at $3.50 per barrel on the first 60,000 barrels for domestic brewers producing fewer than 2 million barrels annually,” writes Beer Institute chief Jim McGreevy. Today’s legislation will also “maintain the current rate of $16 per barrel on the first 6 million barrels for all other brewers and beer importers as well as keeping the federal excise tax at $18 per barrel for all barrelage above 6 million.”

In response to yesterday’s news, the heads of various trade associations expressed their gratitude for the original legislation, championed what it has done for their industry, and urged Congress to make it permanent.

We’ll keep an eye on the progress of this legislation. The BI said they “expect the House of Representatives to introduce companion legislation next week.” Stay tuned.


We’ve fielded many responses in the wake of Bud Light’s Super Bowl ad grenade launched at the Miller Lite and Coors Light camp, for the latter using corn syrup in brewing.

In response to the maelstrom of MillerCoors’ responding in everything from their social media channels to a full page ad in the New York Times [see BBD 02-05-2019], and even several mainstream media outlets explaining how beer is actually brewed, effectively short-circuiting the argument for those who cared to pay attention to such details: The Bud Light team has a volley back.

It’s from the Bud Light king himself, John Barley IV, who took to their social media channels yesterday to deliver this scroll-written message:

“You know, I just wanted to return some corn syrup to its rightful owners and here we are … sorry was it a secret or something?

In the Bud Light kingdom we love corn too! Corn on the cob, corn bread, popcorn … we just don’t brew with the syrup (what you also call “dextrose”).

My royal accountant actually tried to get me to brew with corn syrup to save money. But, even though corn syrup is less expensive, we brew with rice, along with the finest hops, barley, and water, because I’m the King and it’s not my job to save money.”

That’s most of it. But if you’d like to zoom in, here’s the full effect:

Until tomorrow,

Harry, Jenn, and Jordan

“The trouble with normal is it always gets worse.”
– Bruce Cockburn

———- Sell Day Calendar ———-
Today’s Sell Day: 5
Sell days this month: 20
Sell days this month last year: 20
This month ends on a: Thurs.
This month last year ended on a: Wed.
YTD sell days Over/Under: +1