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In the immortal words of those white guys from Brooklyn – “You’ve gotta fight!. . . for your right! . . . to drink liiiiight beer!

Or at least that’s what the beer industry is hoping you’ll do this weekend.

Say what you want about Light Beer (it’s just watered down regular beer, isn’t it?), but you can’t deny the market for it in the United States, for whatever reason, is huge.

In the past 5 years Bud Light has easily surpassed Budweiser in sheer volume to become the country’s #1 selling beer. Beating all other beers, both domestic and imported by a mile. I have a feeling those countless SuperBowl ads, funny commercials, sponsorships of every major sporting event, and one of the cheapest price tags have a lot to do with it.

But with the recent mergers and takeovers that have created our modern American beer industry (Anheuser-Busch taken over by Belgium’s InBev and SABMiller / MolsonCoors teaming up), this could be the time to crown a new king.

MillerCoors is proud to offer both Coors Light (with those blue ball-inducing cold activated bottles) and Miller Lite (which wants you to debate whether great taste/less filling means anything) for your drinking pleasure. While the king, Bud Light, is willing to take on the challenger.

BrewBlog has an excerpt from a recent article highlighting the ‘Fight for Light’:

One of the biggest battles in the transformed U.S. beer business will be in the light beer aisle, as Miller Lite and Coors Light go up against the biggest beer brand in the world, Bud Light.

It’s going to be a hard-fought contest.

Bud Light is far bigger than Miller Lite and Coors Light combined, according to beer shipment figures from Beer Marketer’s Insights. Bud Light moved 42 million barrels in 2007. Miller Lite and Coors Light combined for 35.8 million barrels.

However, over the past five years, Miller Lite and Coors Light combined have added almost as much incremental volume as Bud Light, according to BMI.

Bud Light grew by 3.9 million barrels during that period, BMI reports. Miller Lite and Coors Light grew by nearly 3.6 million barrels.

As you can see, the gap may be narrowing. So what will it be this weekend? Let us know your bee preference in the comments section. Is it the marketing, the image, the taste, or the price that helped you make your decision?

BrewBlog: Competition In The New Beer Business, August 29, 2008