Who Won Sunday’s Big Game? A Battle of the Brands for On-Premise Beer

Game day’s beer MVPs are Corona and Michelob Ultra
Super Bowl Beer Sales

To no one’s surprise, on-premise beer sales got a boost on Sunday, February 11 during the biggest football game of the year. But this year’s game day sales were not all about the beer commercials and the Clydesdales. We dove into Union’s guest ordering data to uncover which brands performed best on-premise on Sunday’s big game.

Big Game Beer by the Numbers

  • On this much-anticipated game day, Beer’s share of all alcohol sales came in nearly 16% higher than a typical day at the bar. That’s a bump in sales since last year’s big game, when Beer sales were just 10% higher than the average day. 
  • Orders for Mexican Beer skyrocketed during this year’s game, seeing a much higher share of sales than on a typical day last year — vying for first place with Mainstream Beer throughout the game.
  • Last year, Bud Light was the top-selling game day beer on-premise, based on share of beer sales. But this year Corona came in No. 1, based on whole-day sales on Sunday, enjoying a boost that day. However, during live game time, Michelob Ultra took the lead.
  • Biggest winner: Modelo’s share of drink sales was 66% higher than on a typical day.
  • Biggest loser: Bud Light ranked much lower than last year’s on-premise game day sales, down 50% in share from last year’s game day, from 7.6% of all beer sold at Union venues to 5%.
  • Beer was the star of the show at Sunday’s big game, but Tequila, Whiskey, and RTDs sold better than usual, as well.
Beer sales by brand on-premise at Union bars and restaurants
Source: OnPrem Insights by Union. Based on dollar sales share of beer for that period.

What’s Game Day Like for Bars and Restaurants?

  • On-premise game day sales skew higher in morning, afternoon, and early evening, and lower late night compared to a typical day.
  • Orders peak early on this world-famous game day. Twenty minutes prior to kickoff is an intense ordering period that continues into the start of the football game, then drops sharply about 20 minutes after kickoff.
  • Almost twice as many items are ordered the first hour of the game compared to the second hour.
  • The longest open tabs are created pre-game, about two hours before kickoff, and stay open an average of about four hours.
  • An hour before kickoff is when Beer sells best, then it drops steadily over the course of the night as guests consume more Spirits drinks.

The Game Day Ads That Worked

  • In the first half of the big game, Michelob Ultra saw a slight bump in share at Union venues in the 30 minutes following its “Superior Beach” ad with Lionel Messi, Jason Sudeikis, and Dan Marino. Meanwhile, Coors Light didn’t see an immediate increase after its “Chill Train” ad featuring LL Cool J, though its share of Beer sales did peak soon after, at the start of halftime.
  • During halftime, Miller Lite, which did not advertise nationally during the game, increased share dramatically on-premise, with peak sales at this time.
  • In the second half of the game, Budweiser marketing commanded the air time with mixed results on-premise. Bud Light’s wish-granting Genie ad was followed by a Bud Light Sky Cam logo and mention during the broadcast, and sales rose for about 40 minutes, helping the drink reach its highest share since kickoff — and briefly outselling Coors Light and Miller Lite. The famous Budweiser Clydesdale horses (plus a golden labrador) returned for a full 60-second spot within the hour, with sales of Budweiser climbing steadily into overtime. However, it was Michelob Ultra that led in sales during overtime.

Data: OnPrem Insights by Union. Big Game 2024 period represents February 10, 2024; Big Game 2023 represents February 12, 2023; a typical year is represented by full year 2023.

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