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Budweiser Struggles in the Face of Craft Beer

Jay-Z stays on as the face of Budweiser as the brand struggles to gain a foothold among the elusive millennial demographic.

Adam Barhan/Flickr

Kids these days aren't chugging the cheap stuff. Budweiser is facing some hard facts as it rebrands its image yet again in an effort to gain and sustain fans. According to a new Wall Street Journal report, Budweiser is abandoning its usual multi-demographic advertising campaign — which typically includes purebred horses and Fleetwood Mac — and putting all of its boozy eggs in one fickle basket: drinkers ages 21 to 27. Says the WSJ: "It means less baseball and more raves with DJ group Cash Cash." Jay-Z is in, majestic horses are out.

Brian Perkins, AB InBev's vice president of marketing (Budweiser's parent company) explains, "This is a very considered, long-term view of what will turn around the brand." Beer Marketer's Insights, an industry group, reports that Budweiser's market share is down from 10 percent five years ago to 7.6 percent. In the 2000s, Bud had nearly 15 percent of the market, but today those drinkers are reaching their mid-thirties. Meanwhile, it's no secret that America's youngest drinkers are reaching for craft beers from smaller breweries like Stone, Hops & Grain, and the newly acquired 10 Barrel instead of big brand brews. Craft beer's market percentage grows every year. Take-home sales account for 15 percent of all beer sales in the U.S.

This is good news for the little guys, but can they keep up with demand? Or will beer's secret black market spiral out of control?