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    IRI Reports Names Top Beer Brand Performers

    CHICAGO -- Innovative strategies in pricing, merchandising and supply chain continue to be the key elements driving success of today's leading beer brands, according to a new report by Information Resources, Inc.

    CHICAGO -- Innovative strategies in pricing, merchandising and supply chain continue to be the key elements driving success of today's leading beer brands, according to a new report by Information Resources, Inc.

    The IRI Beer, Wine and Spirits practice released its annual "Top 30 Beer Brand Performers in 2005," a look at the 30 top growing individual beer brands across the beer market. IRI also unveiled its "Top 10 New Beer Brands in 2005," a list of emerging new brand entries.

    For the Top 30 Beer Brand Performers ranking, IRI analyzed volume growth, share of segment trends, front line pricing, distribution gains, and incremental sales and growth in 2005 versus 2004 to determine the brands with the strongest performance in the beer industry.

    Notables that include Busch Light, Coors Light, Miller Lite, and Pabst Blue Ribbon are on the list, but the coveted No. 1 ranked brand goes to the import beer, Corona Extra, brewed by Grupo Modelo in Mexico. Additional imports that made the ranking include Modelo Especial, Newcastle Brown Ale, Corona Light, Negro Modelo, Pacifico, Heineken, Guinness Draught, Red Stripe, Labatt Blue Light, and Tecate. Micro/craft beers remain popular in the ranking, with such brands as New Belgium Fat Tire Amber Ale, Widmer Hefeweizen, Samuel Adams Seasonal, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and Shiner Bock making the list. Among domestic beers, Natural Light, Milwaukee's Best Ice, Miller High Life Light and Yuengling Traditional Lager remain strong brands.

    "The timely data that IRI provides is relied upon extensively in the brewing industry," said Benj Steinman, president of Beer Marketer's Insights. "It's used by everyone from large brewers, importers and microbrewers to the trade media and financial analysts."

    The Top 30 Beer Brand Performers ranking is designed to highlight the brands that experienced significant year-over-year growth across total U.S. supermarkets in 2005. In addition to looking at volume and dollar sales, IRI also examined pricing, distribution, share growth, and incremental volume and dollar contribution. Combined, these brands outpaced the overall beer category by 4-to-5 percent in volume and dollar sales growth, respectively, versus the previous year.

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