WASHINGTON: Beer brands in the US need to ensure they appeal to consumers on an emotional and cultural level, a new study has found.

Iris, the agency, conducted a survey of 500 adults in the country, in order to assess their feelings about 150 brands in 15 categories.

Overall, 61% of respondents were looking for "cultural relevance" when choosing which beer to buy, as well as certainty about the quality of the product.

An emotional connection was also regarded as a vital characteristic of the best products in this sector, and will continue to be of major importance to the post-recession consumer, according to Iris.

Sam Adams Light and Guinness Light were seen as "mavericks" which did not conform and stood apart from the crowd, alongside providing genuine "originality".

Corona Light led the rankings when it came to generating "buzz", or being fashionable and talked about, and "sociability", in terms of connecting customers.

Heineken Light performed well on the measure of being "a brand for me", which is of particular interest, Iris said, given it is not made in the US.

The Beer Institute has reported that shipments fell by 4% in the run up to the summer, with Miller Lite off by 7.5%, Bud Light by 5.3% and Coors Light by 0.5%.

Yet despite these disappointing returns, manufacturers in the beer industry should be wary of launching the "typical trigger response of pricing promotions," Iris argued.

Data sourced from CreamGlobal.com; additional content by Warc staff