Calories Before Beer?! Oh Dear.

Posted December 7, 2018 by Keith Seiz

This isn’t a humblebrag. I promise I’m making a point here. I’m an ultramarathoner. In fact, I just completed a 50-mile race a couple weeks ago and was the fifth fastest male at doing so. I also eat really healthy. I read labels, avoid processed foods where possible and am cognizant about what I put in my mouth and how it affects the rest of my body.

You would think I’m the perfect customer for Michelob Ultra, a low-calorie beer marketed toward athletes concerned about adding liquid calories via beer. I’m not. I can’t stand it.

However, it’s hard to ignore the beer’s success, especially when compared to other big, domestic beer brands. Check out these numbers:

  • #4 brand Miller Lite was down almost 3% last year
  • #3 Budweiser fared significantly worse, reporting a 7.5% decrease in barrels shipped in 2017
  • #2 Coors Light shipped 4.1% less last year
  • #1 Bud Light took a 6.2% hit last year
  • Michelob Ultra increased barrels shipped in 2017 by 21.3%

That’s massive growth number from a big brand domestic beer, and one of the only bright spots in the domestic big beer market. But you won’t see me picking up a 6-pack anytime soon.

Beer is my oasis from ingredient listings and calorie counts. Beer is one of the few things left that I enjoy purely for the craft that went behind its creation. When I’m knee-deep in a barrel-aged stout, I’m not thinking about how many miles I’m going to have to run in the morning to work this off. I’m just enjoying a great beer.

I assumed craft beer would stay out of the calorie-conscious beer wars, but some news out of Chicago has me concerned. Highly-respected brewer Revolution Brewing recently announced that its popular Freedom session sour series is going year-round.

That’s great news! It’s a great beer. But on the image promoting the Black Currant variety, I saw something that scared me: “Only 120 calories.”

Say it ain’t so craft beer. Please tell me we’re not going to start marketing calorie counts as a selling point over flavor, story and drinkability. Please tell me that until the government forces you to, that calorie counts will only be known to those that understand the calculation of ABV to calories?

Please let me have my beer without worrying about how many calories I’m consuming. I already over-analyze every aspect of the food I eat. I’m not prepared to start doing that for beer.



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