Big Beer's higher-alcohol retreat opened territory that craft beers ultimately came to occupy. Ask any beer drinker these days to name a higher-alcohol beer, and the answer will almost certainly be a craft brand. ABV level for most mainstream beers is below 5%. Above that, well, just visit a brewpub and read the chalkboard*.
So, what's Big Beer to do? At MillerCoors, they call it "innovation," but it seems to come down pretty much to lacing whatever's in the bottle with more alcohol. The recently launched Miller Fortune's 6.9% ABV level is substantially above traditional malt liquor, and 60% higher than light beer. Miller Fortune aims to compete with spirits, even suggesting it be poured into a "rocks glass" as shown here. (Why not a shot glass?) High-alcohol is part of that move.
Of the major brewers, Anheuser-Busch Inbev has the lead in pushing up alcohol levels. Although carrying Bud Light Lime branding-- Bud Light Lime beer is 4.2% ABV-- the growing line of "Ritas" delivers nearly double that. At 8.0% ABV, alcoholically speaking, Rita apparently hooks up with Mike, whose "Harder Punch" is up there, too.
Hey, it's innovation!