AB InBev Q2: Top-line growth ahead of pre-pandemic levels

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT


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Despite the ongoing impact of the pandemic, AB InBev saw top-line growth of 3.2% ahead of the same quarter in 2019. “We remain focused on investing in and accelerating what is already working: category development, premiumization, health and wellness, beyond beer and our digital transformation initiatives,” says the company.

In Q2, 2021, total volumes for the world’s largest brewer grew 20.8%, compared to the same quarter in 2020. In H1 2021, total volumes grew 17%.

Revenues were up 27.6% over the quarter, with revenue per hl growth of 5.8%. In HY21, revenue grew by 22.4% with revenue per hl growth of 4.7%.

Of particular note was the company’s Beyond Beer business: which grew revenue by 45% in 2Q21, and delivered an average gross profit per hl 20% higher than the company’s traditional beer business.

The three Global Brands (Budweiser, Stella Artois and Corona) also performed well: growing 23% globally in the quarter; and 26.2% over the half year.

US highlights: Michelob Ultra, hard seltzer, craft beer

In the US, revenues grew by 6.8% in the quarter which revenue per hl grew by 4.6%, thanks to ongoing premiumization and revenue management initiatives. The above core segment was a particular strength: with Michelob Ultra and craft brews growing double-digit.

Meanwhile, the seltzer portfolio – led by Bud Light Seltzer – grew 28%, which AB InBev estimates to be around 2.7x the growth of the industry. Canned cocktail brand Cutwater grew by triple digits.

Europe reopens

In Europe, the gradual reopening of the on-premise has supported sales, as has performance of premium and super premium brands. The business grew top-line by high teens with low--teens volume growth and mid-single digit revenue per hl growth.

“We are driving premiumization across Europe with our premium and super premium portfolio now making up over 50% of our revenue,”​ notes the brewer. “Our Global brand portfolio continued to outperform and grew by mid-single digits in the quarter and HY21, with particularly strong performance of Corona and Stella Artois.”


In Brazil, the company notes continued top-line momentum, although the bottom-line was impacted by anticipated cost headwinds.

The business saw revenue growth of 28.6% in Q2 and 25.9% over H1. Volumes grew 13.7% across H1.

“Our above core portfolio outperformed this quarter, driven by the sustained growth of our core plus brands, led by Brahma Duplo Malte, and approximately 35% growth of our premium and super premium brands, with particularly strong growth of Corona, Original and Beck’s.

“Innovations represented more than 20% of our total revenue for the fourth quarter in a row."

The business has also been boosted by e-commerce platform BEES: an app where small and medium-sized retailers can browse products, place orders, earn rewards, arrange deliveries, manage invoices and access business insights in one place. It was launched at the end of 2019 in the Dominican Republic and is now used across South Africa, China, South Africa and the US.

In Brazil, the platform is now used by more than 550,000 retailers. 

“We continue to advance our digital transformation agenda with our B2B and DTC initiatives. BEES now covers more than 70% of our active customers across the country and our DTC platform, Zé Delivery, fulfilled more than 15 million orders in 2Q21,"​ notes the company.

An 'unmatched platform'

Overall, AB InBev says it is “confident in the future growth prospects for our business and the resilience of the beer category”.

“We will continue to invest behind a customer and consumer-centric commercial strategy that is backed by a best-in-class brand portfolio, innovation capabilities, and digital transformation. Combined with our fundamental strengths, which include our people, leadership across the world’s largest beer profit pools, exposure to fast-growing emerging markets, operational excellence and a culture of ownership, we have an unmatched platform to drive long-term value creation.”


Related topics Manufacturers Beer & cider Craft

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