the unAmerican american tradition

Ok. This is about the American tradition (the super bowl) and an un-American aspect (the fact there just aren’t that many American beers left).

The super bowl (according to Nielsen sales studies) is the 8th biggest beer day of the year. It is behind the 4th of July, Labor Day, Memorial Day, Father’s Day, Christmas/New Year’s, Thanksgiving and Easter (in that order) in terms of beer sales.

Oh. And I have actually seen Halloween beat out Ester in terms of sales in some reports (WTF … more beer on Fathers Day, Easter & Halloween then Super Bowl!).


During the Super Bowl Americans drink billions of beers.

According to Slashfood, 51.7 million cases of beer are sold in the week surrounding the Super Bowl. For a comparison, 68.3 million cases are sold on Independence Day and 63 million for Father’s Day.

Think about it.

4 hour TV event = 51.7 million cases.

That, my friends, is quite a lot of beer.

Some more factoids (just because I went factoid crazy here before I get to the un-American beer).

HOW MUCH FOOD WILL BE CONSUMED? (by the way … I cannot take credit for the numbers and math here nor do I want to because if you actually take the time to break them down they become suspect …. BUT … suffice it to say a shitload of beer & food is consumed).
8 million: Total pounds of popcorn consumed on Super Bowl Sunday.

28 million: Pounds of potato chips consumed.

53.5 million: Pounds of avocados consumed.

11.8: Depth, in feet, of guacamole consumed if it were spread across the football field.

293,000: Number of miles of potato chips, laid end to end, consumed during the game.

1 billion: Number of chicken wings consumed on Super Bowl Sunday.

325.5 million: Gallons of beer drank by Americans that day.

493: Number of Olympic-sized swimming pools that could be filled with all that beer.

20%: Increase in ant-acid sales the Monday after the game.

7 million: Number of employees who will not show up to work Monday.


Let me get to the point. Of the 51.7 million cases of beer, or 325.5 million gallons if you prefer, most of it will not be American.

Look. I admit. I do love a good cold non microbrewed funky tasting beer.

I thought I was a huge beer lover until I went to Europe and they started giving me beers that had sweet tastes and fruit tastes and … well … then I realized I imagine I was more of an American beer lover. Yeah, yeah, yeah the “beer connoisseurs” out there are scoffing and will start ranting about their high falutin’ microbrews or Chinese beers or something.

But. I am an unabashed American beer lover.

Unfortunately. That seems to be a tough gig these days.

I haven’t really paid much attention to it but it seems like America has lost its beer (that is kind of a different version of losing your marbles … or balls).

Some background is maybe needed to explain my American beer focus.

My first beer was probably in junior high school when me and a couple of buddies stole a nasty Michelob (I think) that my father had sitting in the frig for maybe 2 years (he didn’t really drink beer). Despite that horrible first experience I ran into a high school senior when I was a sophomore who introduced me to the Champagne of Beers (Miller) and I was in heaven. Throughout high school me and my merry band of beer drinkers drank whatever we could get our hands on … but … the champagne of beers was always our number one choice.


Please. I do have some discerning tastes. There was one afternoon in high school days when over at a friend’s house and our beer had run out … but one.

Ted said “Go ahead. You can have it.” So I grabbed my first … and last … Black Label. I took one sip. Then another (because I couldn’t believe a beer could ever taste that bad) and then asked if anyone else wanted to finish it.

Yup. I passed on the last beer available. Black Label made me want to do it (that was a fairluy momentous moment amongst us young beer drinkers).


While I could always get my hands on a good Canadian beer (high school in Vermont) inevitably it seemed like there was a Budweiser or a Pabst or a Falstaff or a Miller in my hands. And you figure Falstaff and PBR sported the good ole USofA red, white & blue colors so I was being as American as American could be. And then as I matriculated my drinking ass off to college … Coors became the elixir of choice (although I never seemed to leave the Champagne too far behind).


I am feeling less patriotic these days as I now have discovered that these days American beer is not so much American. It’s tough to grab one of the old tried and true (what people call “watery”) American beers to quaff with friends at ye ole watering hole (damn … that didn’t sound very American did it?).
Interestingly (mostly because I am not sure I thought about it that much) Anheuser-Busch has a market share in the United States of 50.9% for all beers sold (although different sources give a range of about 42% to 52% … I guess no one is sure how to count beer).

That number is primarily Budweiser (all of them Bud brands).

so. Let’s call it 50% market share. Really? 50% of all beers sold?

That’s a big frickin’ number and it cannot be all the NASCAR race fans and their coolers of Buds. Most people don’t buy just one type but also a lot of other stuff. At the very least you would think that Miller and all of the microbreweries would account for more than 50% (or at least I would).

Bottom line? Huge number. That’s all I will say on that.
The bad news for us americans? Bud ain’t American anymore. In 2008 Anheuser-Busch sold the majority of their stock to Belgian-Brazilian beer giant Inbev creating the largest brewing company in the world (and the brewer’s market share in US actually increased after the sale for some reason).

Ok. So if Bud aint American what is the biggest American owned beer?

Not Miller which is South African based and brews: Miller, MGD, Milwaukee’s Best, Icehouse, Southpaw, Steel Reserve, Hamm’s, Pabst, Stroh’s (if you can find it anywhere) and Red Dog.

Not Molson Coors which appears to be based in Canada or maybe Colorado or somewhere in between (they also to have some sort of joint venture with SABMiller to market all beers under the MillerCoors name which confuses me). But, they brew: Coors (the world’s best beer in my eyes), Coors Light (the world’s worst beer in y eyes), Keystone, Killian’s Red and Blue Moon.

So where does that leave us? Sam Adams?

Shiner (which makes an appearance down the list)? After that the list gets slim (by market share size … actual number of choices is huge).


Maybe my patriotism I can hold on to the fact that they are still brewed in America.

In the meantime I still enjoy a chilled Champagne of Beers and love a good Coors original (which I think they call Banquet for some odd reason). And make believe I am being unabashedly American while drinking them.

Enjoy … and know you are probably, most likely, being un-American whilst quaffing a cold one during the American tradition called the super bowl.

Written by Bruce