Bud Light

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Americans increasingly are making it a Bud Light. Within the next year or so, the No. 2 brand will surpass Budweiser to become the king of beers. Already it has passed Bud in supermarket sales.

Standing watch is Andy Goeler, an Anheuser-Busch Cos. veteran who launched his beer career at a Newark, N.J., beer wholesaler two decades ago. Mr. Goeler, brand director, has worked on Bud Light for five years and run it for two.

Last year, Bud Light sales jumped 11% to 29,000 barrels, far exceeding industry growth or that of Budweiser, whose volume dipped 3%, according to Beer Marketers Insights. Annual volume sales have increased at double-digit rates since 1990.

Advertising that has remained humorous and relevant to the 21- to 27-year-old target is the primary reason for the brand's growth.

"It's not like you have to be a marketing genius. It's pretty simple. It's all about having fun. You just have to keep understanding what is fun to contemporary adults as you continue to age," he says.

To make sure Bud Light doesn't fall off its decade-long tear, the 42-year-old Mr. Goeler has tweaked TV advertising to include an exploding bottle cap to play off the refreshment theme, and he has expanded regional marketing efforts to make the brand more relevant. Ad spending has also grown at double-digit rates, Mr. Goeler says.

As brand director, Mr. Goeler says he spends 80% of his free time in bars and about half the month on the road, talking to consumers, retailers and distributors.

"If you don't constantly monitor it, that market will slip away," he says.

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