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Bud Light vs Coors Light reveals industry's struggle



  • Bud Light struggles with Coors Light and Miller Lite after Bud Light ran a Super Bowl ad-based MillerCoor brand to use corn syrup in beer.
  • Many iconic light beer brands struggle to win over drinks – Bud Light sales fell by 5.5% in 2018, Coors Light sales fell 3.9%, and Miller Lite sales declined 1.3%.
  • Americans are increasingly killing beer and buying more expensive brews if they drink, leaving iconic beer brands scrambling for solutions.

Bud Light, Coors Light and Miller Lite had a controversial week that revealed a lingering threat in the light beer industry.

During the Super Bowl on Sunday, Bud Light debuted a series of ads based on Coors Light and Miller Lite to use corn syrup to make their light beer.

MillerCoors responded quickly, tweeting: "More flavor, fewer calories and half carbohydrates of Bud Light."

"Bud Light starts this fight for one reason. They're scared," said MillerCoor's CEO Gavin Hattersley in a note to Sunday distributors quoted in Behind Beer, a blog owned by the beer giant.

Read more: MillerCoor's CEO blasts Bud Light as "scared" for Miller Lite and Coors Light after Super Bowl commercials

Miller Lite ran a full page ad in the New York Times and slammed "unnecessary #corntroversy "Bud Light even ended up backing off its apparent anti-corn stance after the backlash from the corn lobby.

"In Bud Light Kingdom we also love corn!" the brand tweeted.

Why are Bud Light, Miller Lite and Coors Light throwing into this corn syrup-soaked fight? First, all three brands struggle to win over drinkers. And secondly, they seem to be considered the higher quality or the most nutritious option can be the key to survival.

Despite being the best-selling beer in the US, Bud Light sales fell by 5.5% in 201

8, reports by Brewbound, citing IRI data. Coors Light sales declined by 3.9% while Miller Lite sales declined 1.3%.

The sales decline comes as the broader beer industry struggles to appeal to millennia and Gen Z in the same way as previous generations.

However, Coors Light, Miller Lite and Bud Light are among a particularly hard hit: domestic premium brands. While this category, which also includes Budweiser, includes most of the best-selling beers in the United States, total sales fell by 4.2% in 2018.

"Premium and Premium Light segments remain under pressure as consumers shop up to higher-priced levels, "said Carlos Brito, CEO of Anheuser-Busch InBev, in a meeting with investors in October.

To reverse the downward trend, these beers are looking at the bright spots in the beer industry and are trying to take notes. Craft beer and domestic super prizes (like Michelob Ultra and Budweiser Reserve) were among the categories that grew in 2018. These are brands that are both more expensive and perceived as higher quality products.

So to better compete with these pricier brews, Coors Light, Miller Lite and Bud Light are on a mission to convince customers that they are the higher quality onion beer, whether it is corn syrup shortage or just fewer calories. As the fight continues, you can expect these iconic light beers to continue to clear their actions.


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