Breaking News on Beverage Technology & Markets

News > Manufacturers


AB InBev tells an intriguing Q2 tale of two Buds…

By Ben Bouckley , 31-Jul-2012
Last updated on 01-Aug-2012 at 11:38 GMT

Anheuser-Busch InBev’s Q2 results reveal a tale of two Buds – namely one of woe for standard Budweiser that the global brewer is struggling to stabilize in the States, and another on high-performing brand extensions.

Reporting its Q2 results for the year to June 30, AB InBev noted revenue up 4.7% year-over-year to $9.871bn and 5.4% in H1, net income grew 22% in Q2 to $1.955bn.

However, total volumes fell 0.1% in Q2, with beer volumes down 0.5%, although AB InBev’s non-beer volumes grew 4.2% in the quarter.

AB InBev management blamed soft quarterly volumes on the US market, due to adjustments made to ensure more cost-efficient shipments to wholesale clients, which led to a 2.1% volume decline in this channel.

But management hailed the best US volume performance – for H1 as a whole – since 2008, due to favorable weather and an economic improvement in Q1, as well as industry innovations in H1.

Bud Light Platinum

US retail sales rose 0.2% in H1, with AB InBev attributing it to strong execution and innovations, in particular Bud Light Platinum and Bud Light Lime Lime-A-Rita.

Both these line extensions sell at a premium to Bud Light (the brand overall grew 3.5% in Q2) while AB InBev also claimed good results for Micehelob Ultra and other high-end brands.

Star performer was Bud Light Platinum, which AB InBev launched in January 2012; it now has an estimated 1.1% market share (based on retail sales), with over 1.1m hectoliters shipped by early July.

“Our research on cannabalisation also shows positive results, indicating that less than 50% of Bud Light Platinum volume is being sourced from our own brands, with a significant proportion coming from hard liquor and other beverages,” AB InBev management said.

The firm added that it planned to launch Bud Light Platinum in 22oz bottles and a 12oz bottle 18-pack during Q3.

Stabilizing brand Budweiser

However, this feel-good factor was dented by Budweiser US market share loss, with brand retail sales down 6.5% year-over-year in Q2.  

“We continue to focus on stabilizing the brand, and in our value brands, as a result of our strategy to close the price gap with our premium brands,” management said.

In Brazil, AB InBev’s beer volumes grew 3.1% in Q2, with its premium brands growing double-digits led by Stella Artois and Budweiser.

According to AB InBev:“We continue to roll-out Budweiser in carefully selected outlets, with distribution of the brand increasing by over 60% in the last three months.”

Q2 beer volumes rose 7.6% in China, with AB InBev estimating a 40bps (0.4%) market share gain in the first five months of the year.

Discussing AB InBev’s Chinese Q2, management said:“Innovation plays a key role in building connections with our consumers. During the quarter we announced the introduction of a fully opening lid designed for the nightlife occasion, making Budweiser even more relevant to the young adult drinker.”

Subscribe to our FREE newsletter

Get FREE access to authoritative breaking news, videos, podcasts, webinars and white papers. SUBSCRIBE

Key Industry Events


Access all events listing

Our events, Events from partners...