Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

The move to light beer

By William Brand
Monday, March 5th, 2007 at 7:16 pm in Uncategorized.

Oh Americans of crappy palate. My heart aches.

Among the ton of beery email that crosses my desk every day, I got a missive from Brew Blog, a newsletter put out by an ad agency working for Miller Brewing.

Title: The fight for light.

Here’s a quote:

“It’s taken a few decades, but import and craft beer marketers are getting serious about light beer.

“The rollout of Heineken Premium Light last year was the biggest – and most successful – light beer launch yet by an importer. Reportedly backed with tens of millions in marketing support, the brand swiftly gained distribution and sales.”

“Now, the deluge. Tecate Light is rolling out. Boston Beer Company is increasing its support for Sam Adams Light. Labatt USA is emphasizing Labatt Blue Light. And that’s just for starters.

“This about-face by import and craft marketers underscores the central fact of the U.S. beer business: Light beer is the industry’s biggest category and it’s going to get bigger. And any brewer wanting to grow needs a piece of that business.

“Light is the biggest fight in the beer business.

* Light beer – including imports and crafts – represented half of all beer shipments in 2005, according to figures from Beer Marketer’s Insights.

* From 2000 to 2005, mainstream light beer was the biggest single source of growth in the beer industry, according to Beer Marketer’s Insights. Light added 14.2 million barrels of volume in that time – twice the incremental volume of imports and crafts.

* Bear Stearns estimates that, based on current trends, light beer should be 53 percent of the industry in five years and 55 percent in 10 years.”

Hell. The big brewers would be better off skipping the alcohol and selling boiled water (which is quite close to the taste of light beer).

Consider these statistics:

“In 1993, the U.S. absorbed the equivalent of 10.5 gallons for each person in the country. A decade later, per capita consumption grew to 22.6 gallons, almost equaling that of milk (22.7 gallons), coffee (22.1 gallons) and beer (21.8 gallons). Although carbonated soft drinks still hold the number one position (54.2 gallons) amongst beverages in the country, this category has experienced declines for four consecutive years.” Source:

My opinion of light beer: Arrrrrgggggg. Personally, I’m going to crack open a bottle of Double IPA tonight.

Also, I’m having trouble uploading photos tonight. To see a good use for light beer (from New York University) go to my other blog: .

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  • Sheena

    hello beer lovers of the bay area!

    i just moved here with my husband a few months ago from pittsburgh, and while there are lots of delicious bottled suds to be purchased and consumed, we miss our labatt blue. its cheap and tasty and a must have for the up coming hockey season….does anyone know where we can find this canadian lager???

  • William Brand

    Hi Sheena…it’s readily available in the Bay Area. All the Beverages & More stores shold have it. Here’s a link to their Website:

    William Brand