The two largest companies that sell beer in the United States, Anheuser-Busch InBev (ABI) and Molson Coors Beverage Company, together account for 65% of the beer market nationwide, as measured by revenue.
According to a Treasury Department report, this makes the US beer market highly concentrated by the standards federal antitrust agencies use to assess market concentration.
While ABI had a 42.4% market share by revenue in 2021, Molson Coors achieved 22.4% coverage, although their shares have declined modestly in recent years.
Other major brewers selling in the United States include Constellation Brands, which imports the popular Corona and Modelo beer brands into the United States; Heineken, D.G. Yuengling and Son, and Boston Beer Company, among others, in addition to a large number of small craft breweries.
Although ABI and Molson Coors continue to dominate the market, the number of breweries has increased significantly.
In fact, according to the aforementioned report, in 1983 there were less than 100 breweries. At the end of 2020, there were 6,406 breweries reporting beer production in the United States.
Many of these breweries are small. In 2020, for example, more than 90% of these 6,406 US breweries produced fewer than 15,000 barrels of beer.
Industry associations estimate that in 2020, the US beer market was $94 billion, measured by retail dollar sales, down from $116 billion in 2019.
Beer sold in the United States is often segmented based on price and perceived quality. These segments, and their nomenclature, have evolved over time.
For example, ABI, with the largest beer sales in the United States, currently groups beer into five segments: Economy, Basic, Basic-Plus, Premium, and Super-Premium (listed in increasing order of price and quality).
Beer brands in the value segment include ABI’s Busch Light and Molson Coors’ Keystone Light, and in the core segment, Molson Coors’ Miller Lite and ABI’s Bud Light and Budweiser.
The basic-plus segment includes ABI’s Michelob Ultra brand. Beer brands in the premium segment include imported beers such as Corona Extra and Heineken. Beer brands in the super premium segment include other imported beers and many craft beers.