It's their first year on top.

By Mike Pomranz
Updated May 24, 2017
Jack Andersen

As anyone who’s ever watched their uncle bring his own six-pack of Busch pounders with him wherever he goes can attest to, beer brands – even mediocre ones – can inspire shocking amounts of loyalty. A recently released report has tried to quantify just where that loyalty comes from and which beer brand does it best.

According to its 22nd annual 2017 Customer Loyalty Engagement Index, brand research consultancy Brand Keys says that when it comes to getting a buzz on, currently no beer inspires more brand engagement and loyalty than Coors. This year marks the first time the Rocky Mountains-inspired brew has topped the beer category, knocking off last year’s number one, Sam Adams.

Of course, we’re left with the old question: What exactly is “brand engagement”? If you’re reading this from an open office plan somewhere, I’m sure your company’s social media team has a lot of fancy PowerPoint presentations full of screengrabs from Twitter that can explain it, but everyone seems to have their own definition. According to Brand Key president Robert Passikoff, “’Brand engagement’ is a measure of how well a brand meets expectations consumers hold for the path-to-purchase drivers in a given category.” To put that jargon in plain English: Customers have expectations when it comes to why and how they buy beer; according to Brand Key, Coors did the best job in meeting those expectations. Frankly, it’s not the most exciting victory: A “Best Met Expectations” ribbon sounds like the participation trophy’s illegitimate brother. Still, as Passikoff points out, “Brands that cannot meet expectations lose customers and market share.”

But keep in mind, according to The Motley Fool, Brand Keys only looked at a handful of the thousands of beer brands out there, focusing on only the largest (and apparently lager-focused) names. Rounding out the top ten (which actually included twelve beers thanks to ties) are Corona, Yeungling and Samuel Adams (tie), Michelob, Budweiser, Dos Equis, Busch, Heineken, Stella Artois and Miller (tied) and Pabst. And even then, a failure to engage and retain customers doesn’t really say much about a beer itself, only its marketing. In many ways, inspiring loyalty isn’t about having the best product, but giving customers what they want.

So in the end, you could say that Coors is currently the beer brand that knows beer customers best. I guess beer drinkers really like cans that change colors.