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Coors Light Unseats Budweiser As America’s No. 2 Beer

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File photo of Coors Light bottles. (credit: Rick Diamond/Getty Images)

File photo of Coors Light bottles. (credit: Rick Diamond/Getty Images)

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St. LOUIS (KMOX) — The court of the King of Beers was rocked Tuesday when Coors Light replaced Budweiser as the No. 2-selling U.S. beer.

This is the first time since 1993 that Anheuser-Busch didn’t have the top two brands, according to industry publication Beer Insights, and it’s a milestone in an industry formerly dominated by Anheuser-Busch, which held 26 percent of the market in 1988, according to the publication’s INSIGHTS.

A spokesman from Anheuser-Busch said the company is happy with its efforts to stabilize the brand. Budweiser’s numbers will be officially released to the financial community on March 8.

MillerCoors’ spokesman, makers of Coors Light, told the Chicago Tribune, “Dethroning the King is a great accomplishment so early in the history of MillerCoors.”

“We will be appropriately celebrating this achievement with our employees and distributors who have worked so hard to deliver an impressive seven consecutive years of growth on Coors Light and then getting back to work to deliver an eighth consecutive year of growth.”

Growth has come in small increments in recent years with larger gains on Budweiser occurring between 2006 and 2008, according to Beer Insights. In five years, Coors Light gained 9 percent on Budweiser, which the publication estimates lost 4.6 percent of sales to 17.7 million barrels. Budweiser has not released its own figures for 2011 yet.

Budweiser is the only full calorie beer ranked in the top five, which includes Bud Light at No. 1, Miller Light in fourth followed by Natural Light.

Budweiser’s brands still account for 22 percent of the market, but its biggest gains in recent years have come from developing regions of the world, according to Tony D’Altoria, a research analyst with Investment U.

A call to Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors was not immediately returned.

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