The top 16 best selling imported beer brands in US in 2017 amass a large share of the imported beer in the U.S, which is the second-largest beer category behind domestic beer, though trailing it by a wide margin. According to the Brewers Association, in 2016, there were 196.75 million barrels of beer sold, with domestic beer amassing 139.28 million barrels, followed by imported beer with 33.37 million barrels. In 2016, imported beer saw the largest growth, of 6.8%, followed by craft beer, which registered a 6.2% increase in sales.
The popularity of beer looks strong based on the latest polls as well. According to Gallup, in 2017, 40% of alcohol consumers prefer beer, followed by 30% which prefer wine, while 26% prefer liquor. In 2016, a similar Gallup poll showed that 43% of alcohol consumers chose beer, while wine and liquor was picked as the preferred beverage by 32% and 20%, respectively.
Since colonial times, beer has been the favorite alcoholic beverage among Americans, with estimates for an average American amounting to around 28 US gallons. Due to the domination of the British and the Dutch in the early American colonies, beer was the primary alcoholic beverage, outranking wine. The first commercial brewery in the U.S was opened by the Dutch West India Company in 1632 in Lower Manhattan.
Early beers in America were based on the British brewing style and included mostly ales. Later, in the 19th century, German immigrants brought technologies for their own lager styles, which quickly gained popularity due to their longer shelf-life, as the hops in lager had preservative qualities. In fact, even Budweiser, one of the most popular domestic beers in the U.S, was developed after Adolphus Busch (who created Anheuser-Busch after taking over the company following the death of his father-in-law, Ebernard Anheuser) had toured Europe and discovered the Bohemian lager.
In this way, given the history, it’s not surprising that beer has always been popular in the U.S, with the exception of the Prohibition era, although beer was the first beverage to be legalized after it ended. During the Second World War, the beer industry in the U.S saw spectacular growth, as Prohibition led to the closure of many breweries and only large companies managed to stay in business.
Due to the large quantities of beer that were produced by domestic breweries, imported beer wasn’t very popular in the U.S. However, things changed in the 1980s when companies like Heineken and Diageo plc (ADR) (NYSE:DEO) (which makes Guinness), as well as other companies from Germany, Belgium, and elsewhere with deep beer brewing roots started to conquer the U.S beer market. However, the country that stood to win the most from the U.S beer market was Mexico. The U.S imports 75% of all the beer that Mexico exports.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at the top 16 best selling imported beer brands in US in 2017. Due to the fact that the U.S imports large quantities of beer from Mexico, it’s not surprising that many beer brands come from there. Constellation Brands, Inc. (NYSE:STZ) is one of the biggest sellers of imported beer, with its Corona brand leading the list. Anheuser Busch Inbev NV (ADR) (NYSE:BUD) is another big player in the U.S import space, due to the fact that it owns the breweries that manufacture many of the top imported beer brands in the U.S.
This list was compiled using data from Statista and the VinePair.com infographic of the 20 most popular imported beers in America. Check it out beginning on the next page.