Americans spend a lot of money on beer. Which five beers do they spend the most on? If you asked me this question blindly, I’m not sure what I would have said. I would have rattled off Bud, Bud Light, Coors Light and Miller Light, and then I probably would have been stumped. Would I have eventually made it to Natty? Maybe, if I could recall my college days, but to find out that Natty is in the 5-spot and that Americans spent 1.13 billion on Natty in the last year…pretty surprising. Even more impressive, Natty’s growth in sales over the last year is tops among the “Big Five.”
So, what’s the bottom line? Well, aside from the fact that you shouldn’t be shedding any tears for the people at Anheuser Busch, I think this is just another sign of the poor economy. You aren’t going to convince me that people suddenly started to enjoy Natty more over the past 12 months. Obviously, people are going to keep drinking, but they want to spend less money. Enter the “Natural” line of products. I’m sure Natty goes for more than the $9.97 a case it went for back in my day, but I can’t imagine it’s more than 50 cents a can. And using that number to keep the math nice and easy, that means Americans tear through more than 2.2 billion Natty’s a year. Good gracious.
I honestly had never heard of Natural Light before I got to college. I wasn’t a drinker, but I was certainly aware of brands of beer. I had been inside a distributor. I could read. Those types of things I had going for me, but never had my eyes ever been set upon that flashy logo. In fact, I want to say I was “that guy,” who joked about Natty and commented on it before I even really knew what it was. Assimilate, assimilate, assimilate.
Of course I would ultimately come to be all too familiar with Natty. From the kid who claimed he drank Natty because “he liked the taste,” to the late night runs to get a couple six-packs to keep the Beirut game going, Natty eventually becomes omnipresent at college. It’s such an interesting conundrum. Is the $4 dollars you save really worth it? Is the other beer option (Bud Light or whatever) really so much better?
I’m sure 9 of 10 people would miserably fail a blind test with light beers, and I would be among them. I think there’s a little stigma attached to Natty. It doesn’t try to hide the fact that it’s cheap. No one thinks they are getting a nice sipping beer when they buy it. College kids don’t care about those things, though. They have one question. Does it work? Well, yeah, it does. And, it’s looking like more people are taking on that mentality. Good for Natty.