Few things hold as special of a place in American’s hearts than beer.
We drink to celebrate. We drink to mourn. And we drink to have fun.
While craft brews are trending up, the beer market is still dominated by domestic beers. Drinks made by the major macrobreweries are bringing in the most sales and best brand recognition.
If you own a sports bar, domestic beers are an essential part of your business. So which domestic brews should you sell? Here are our top picks.
Dilly dilly! We’d be remiss not to start our list with the top-selling beer in the United States.
Bud Light has no shortage of criticism from beer aficionados, but there’s no denying the power of this beverage’s brand. Everyone knows the name from backyard barbecues and the insane amounts of advertising.
It’s a safe choice. Panicked when asked what beer they want, many Americans fall back on the beer they know.
As a beer that makes $6 billion annually, it’s a no-brainer that Bud Light should be one of the domestic beers featured at your bar.
Budweiser and other macrobrews may be perceived as quintessentially American. But are they really?
Due to market action over the last decade, Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors are now owned by foreign companies. So who takes the crown as the top truly domestic beer?
That would be Yuengling, owned by Pennsylvania-based D.G. Yuengling & Son Inc. Marketing itself as “America’s Oldest Brewery,” Yuengling’s national popularity has grown since the foreign acquisitions of their competitors.
Featuring a fuller flavor than most of its domestic lager peers, Yuengling pours a rich amber color and pairs well with pizza, burgers, and other grub. It’s a great choice for somebody looking for something better than a pounder, but not as fancy as a sipper.
To please the crowd that loves to support American companies, make sure to stock up on Yuengling.
Among the other big domestic beers, Blue Moon’s distinctive flavor stands out.
As a Belgian White Ale, Blue Moon is a bit of a curveball compared to the lager style of drink that typically occupies the cans of domestic beers. By using Valencia orange peel and coriander during the brewing process, Blue Moon develops a sweet and citrusy taste and bright aroma.
This beer maintains an easy-to-down drinkability while also coming through with unique and intense flavors not typically seen from a macrobrewery. Some people initially mistake it as a craft beer, even though its parent company is beer giant MillerCoors.
Blue Moon is a good transition drink. It’s popular among young drinkers who want to branch out from the standard domestic beer but have yet to develop a taste for the hoppier craft IPAs.
If you decide to start serving Blue Moon, be sure to pick up some oranges too; Blue Moon is always served with its traditional orange wedge garnish.
Samuel Adams Seasonal Beers
Like Blue Moon, Sam Adams sometimes seems to bridge the gap between the large domestic beers and craft beers.
What sets the Boston beer company (the second-largest American-owned company behind Yuengling) apart is the seasonal variety packs. Often these seasonal beers trump the brand’s flagship Boston Lager in terms of both taste and personality.
Sam Adam’s Oktoberfest, Summer Ale, and Winter Lager are among the many different selections that only come around in certain parts of the year. By picking up the beers of the season, you’ll make sales from drinkers wanting to get into a special mood.
Michelob Ultra continues to push itself as the “healthy beer” option thanks to an aggressive advertising campaign, spotlighted most recently in their Super Bowl commercials featuring Chris Pratt.
And with only 95 calories and 2.6 G of carbs in a 12 oz. bottle, Ultra delivers on its promise of being a great tasting beer that won’t make you bloated. Or at least not as quickly!
Michelob’s ads have looked more like a Nike or Gatorade promo that a beer commercial. As such, waistband-conscious patrons of your bar will be looking for Ultra.
Pabst Blue Ribbon
The rebirth of PBR from the ashes is an incredible feat.
Once popular in the 70s, PBR hit a 20-year drought and faded away into relative obscurity. But in 2009, it made a roaring comeback.
Due in part to hipster culture, PBR became cool again. The iconic retro feel of the beverage design and brand combined with the lack of mainstream advertising gave PBR a cult following.
Pabst sold 350 million liters of PBR in 2013, compared to 140 liters in 2004. Thanks to a low cost and a decent taste for the price, PBR is the drink of choice for many millennials.
Especially popular are the PBR Tall Boys, 24 oz cans that have been the focal point of many special deals and theme nights at bars across the country.
We’ve included a wide variety of beers on here, but none quite as classy as Coors Banquet.
Coors touts that their Banquet product, which was actually the original Coors beer, is made from 100% Rocky Mountain water in Golden, Colorado. It’s a bit heavier and fuller than Coors Light, which usurped Banquet’s place in the limelight during the light beer craze of the ’90s.
Banquet is now once again on the rise. Coming in a retro golden yellow can and branded as a premium beer, Coor Banquet is emerging as a go-to selection for those who want a more elegant beer from a domestic producer.
Kirkland? You mean Costco’s generic brand?
That’s right. Sometimes you don’t need a name-brand beer to get the job done. Kirkland Light isn’t anything special, but it’s cheap and has a decent flavor for a generic light beer.
Stock up on Kirkland in place of something like Natural Light, which has the negative connotation of being nothing more than a college pounder. You might gain a few sales from fellow Costco members who recognize the Kirkland name and want to give it a try.
Prime Your Sports Bar with Domestic Beers
Craft beers are trending up, but domestic beers will still bring you the national recognition and reliability that you need to turn your sports bar into the top local watering hole.
For more tips on how to improve your bar, check out our business blog.