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Is Bud No Longer America's 'King of Beers?'

Is Bud No Longer America's 'King of Beers?'

Where better to find out about America's drinking preferences than from a company that produces an alleged hangover cure?

According to that company, Blowfish, the Budweiser produced by Anheuser-Busch Inbev (NYSE: BUD) may no longer be the “king of beers” when it comes to the average American's choice of brews.

Blowfish and AMP Agency released a national survey earlier this month after polling nearly 5,250 adult drinkers. And according to their data Blue Moon, produced by MillerCoors, – a joint venture betweeen SAB Miller(OTC: SBMRY) and Molson Coors(NYSE: TAP) – is the nation's favorite overall beer, followed by Boston Beer's (NYSE: SAM) Sam Adams with Bud Light in third place.

There's a certain irony in that news, however, considering MillerCoors announced 200 employee layoffs on Monday due to slower sales of some its other well-known brands, including Coors Light and Miller Light.

The move is reportedly part of a restructuring of the company's salaried workforce. A MillerCoors spokesman, speaking to the Denver Business Journal, says the changes are meant “to create a more balanced, efficient organizational structure, reduce costs, drive accountability, improve execution and increase speed to market.”

And in a memo to distributors, quoted by AdAge, MillerCoors notes the U.S. beer industry is undergoing a “period of rapid and disruptive change” brought on in part by “consumer fragmentation, continued high unemployment and increased competition from wine and spirits.”

That memo is in turn underscored by data released earlier this year from the Distilled Spirits Council, which found its industry gained market share from both beer and wine consumers in 2012, “as a decade of regulatory modernization for spirits continued to pay dividends.” Since 2002 , according to the Council's yearly report, 16 states have dropped their “blue laws” and allowed Sunday sales of alcohol – which has added up to $260 million in new annual sales.

And the Blowfish survey appears to back up that information; saying that, after beer, America's top three alcoholic drinks are vodka and red wine.

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