BUSY, BUSY BEERS
From skyrocketing cider sales to craft beer domination, there’s been a lot of activity on the US beer scene lately. On the mainstream side, Coors Light has done the unthinkable – surpassing Budweiser as the No. 2 best-selling beer in the nation in 2O11, according to beer marketer’s insights. Even with Bud Light keeping a firm grip on the No. 1 position, it marked the first time in nearly 2O years that Anheuser-Busch didn’t have the top two selling beer brands. And while Coors Light’s toppling of the self-proclaimed “King of Beers” was definitely newsworthy, a much smaller beer has also been quietly put up some impressive numbers of its own: Modelo Especial. One of 13 brands brewed by Mexico’s Grupo Modelo, Modelo Especial is an old beer experiencing a revival of sorts. Only available in the US since 199O, it’s been showing consistent year-over-year growth. Positioned as Mexico’s premium beer brand, Modelo Especial has seen double-digit growth annually for the last 17 years. Last year, Modelo Especial sold 35 million cases for the first time. The growth is enough to make it the No. 3 imported beer behind Corona and Heineken. The brand posted a 19% gain in dollar sales in 2O11. Even more impressive, Modelo Especial’s growth has been achieved with a limited marketing presence. But now that the brand is crossing over to the general market Crown plans to increase its advertising spending for Modelo Especial and is seeking to raise the brand’s profile in bars and restaurants by making it more widely available on tap. By June, Crown expects the beer to be available on draft in 41 states, up from the current 27.