This is a sad week for those of you who grew up drinking Budweiser. For the first time in nearly two decades, Molson Coors'
The drop-off in beer volumes really hasn't come as a surprise to anyone. In fact, for Anheuser-Busch's Budweiser, the trend has persisted for a while. Sales volume fell by 4.6% in 2011, which was actually an improvement from the 7% drop in 2010 and the 10% plummet in 2009. Since 1988 Budweiser has averaged an annual volume decline of 4.4%.
What's causing the mass exodus? It's a mixture of more health-conscious consumers and the emergence of high-end craft breweries.
A dramatic rise in obesity rates in the United States over the past decade has prompted food and beverage companies to change the way they market to consumers. McDonald's
That's not to say Americans are shunning calorie-ridden beers, just that they're expecting more from them. High-end craft beer has also worked its way into Americans' hearts. Making no apologies for their calorie-count, craft brewers are popping up everywhere, offering consumers a premium taste compared to Budweiser. Boston Beer
A tertiary factor that I haven't mentioned that could play a role in America's move away from Bud is the fact that the once-iconic beer was purchased by foreign-run InBev in 2008. It's difficult to tell, considering that the drop-off occurred during the height of the financial crisis, but it's certainly worth noting.
So what does this mean for Anheuser-Busch? Not a whole heck of a lot, other than it needs to continue to focus on what's important: Namely, that international growth is its bread-and-butter and low-calorie beer is what's selling. I highlight ed Anheuser-Busch InBev as a stock you could buy right now during the rapid summer sell-off, and I don't think this week's news really changes that assessment. It does, however, spell a continued decline for one of America's iconic beers.
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Fool contributor Sean Williams has no material interest in any companies mentioned in this article. He has tried 968 different beers in his lifetime with the notes to prove it! You can follow him on CAPS under the screen name TMFUltraLong, track every pick he makes under the screen name TrackUltraLong, and check him out on Twitter, where he goes by the handle @TMFUltraLong.
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