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INSIGHTS Express

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INSIGHTS Express is designed for busy beer execs who want faster news and more info. Available via fax or email (your choice), INSIGHTS Express delivers subscribers breaking news, key numbers, pithy quotes, and other interesting info 2X a week. That's over 100 issues each year.

In each INSIGHTS Express, you'll find breaking news balanced with other info you just won't see elsewhere.International news.Articles about smaller brewers.Trends in other industries that bear on the US beer biz. Alcohol policy issues. Statistical snapshots. And much, much more.

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Did a lousy Memorial Day and soft yr-to-date scans really rev up Jul 4 specials, especially for ailin’ Bud/Bud Light?  We grabbed weekly flyers from 4 stores that could not be much further from each other: Tops in Buffalo, NY; Albertsons in San Diego, CA; Winn Dixie in Miami, FL; Safeway in Seattle, WA.  Each had Bud deals.  Like what?  Like $12.99 Bud/Bud Light 30-pks in Tops after $7 mail-in rebate.  That’s right next to $15.99 30-pks of PBR, Busch, Natty Light and Mil’s Best.  Zip 2,200 miles cross-country to San Diego for a hot penny deal.  Used to be 1-cent on top of a 24-pk price could get you a bag of chips or maybe even a case of water.  But at Albertsons this weekend, if you buy 2 twelvers of Bud brands at $9.99 each, you can get the 3d for a penny.  Even better: back east in Miami, your third 12-pk of Bud, Miller Lite, Coors Light and/or Michelob Ultra is free.  But upfront price is pretty rational $11.99 - $13.99.  Jet-lag it out to Seattle and 2d Bud/Bud Light/Ultra 18-pk is 50% off front-line of $17.99.

Publishing Info

  • Year 2017
  • Volume 19
  • Issue # 123
Ain’t just Amazon’s Whole Foods deal that’s got retail watchers buzzin’.  German discount grocery chain Lidl launched 9 stores in VA, NC and SC recently and “hype around” its debut “warranted,” sez Consumer Edge analyst Brett Cooper.  In short note and lotsa pics of “packed” store CE visited Jun 15, Brett pointed to “increasingly competitive” grocery biz as Amazon, Walmart, Target, Kroger, Costco, dollar stores, Lidl and fellow German discounter Aldi, and more all makin’ moves to serve consumers in new/different ways.  “Most onlookers expect Lidl’s entrance to roil the American grocery industry, posing yet another danger to companies already threatened by investments from Walmart, online and startups,” said Economist mag. Lidl and Aldi do 90% of their biz in private label biz, and stock only 1/10th of items in conventional supers, but prices can be as much as 50% cheaper, added Economist.  Tho private label still tiny part of US alc bev sales ‒ and especially beer ‒ Total Wine has figured out how to make it work in wine.  And Lidl has its own tweak.  Among Brett’s pics was display of top US beer brands with stack of “Boss Light” right next to Bud Light.  Package graphics and…

Publishing Info

  • Year 2017
  • Volume 19
  • Issue # 116
“It is common for companies to seek media efficiencies via agency consolidations in the wake of major mergers,” noted Ad Age.  And so it comes as absolutely no surprise that following ABI purchase of SABMiller, ABI “putting in play planning and buying duties for the world’s largest brewer.”  Incumbent in US is MediaCom since late 2014.  Globally, ABI currently using 8 agencies “spanning all major holding companies in more than 50 countries” and looks to get down to “potentially as few as one or two agencies.”  There will be big winner(s) and losers once the dust settles.   ABI was 20th largest US advertiser, “spending $1.68 billion in 2015,” estimates Ad Age.  Globally, it added SABMiller spending too.  So that’s gotta be some massive account, desirable even given ABI’s sometimes radical revamps.  Recall, in 2014, AB decimated long-running Busch Media Group to go to MediaCom.  At time, AB said it would be able to act “faster” and “spend smarter.”  It is likely to get more efficiencies yet again, but will those efficiencies lead to better sales results?  

Publishing Info

  • Year 2017
  • Volume 19
  • Issue # 54
While shipments improved in May, retail sales still unusually soft.  We knew the beer biz didn’t perform well over first major holiday in peak selling season.  But we didn’t know just how poorly. Until now. Beer volume down 4.6% for 2 weeks thru Jun 4 in IRI multi-outlet + convenience. And $$ sales down 3.3%, $51.8 mil for 2 weeks.  That’s right. Over $50 mil less in retail sales in 2-week period.  That’s as bad a major holiday as we’ve yet seen for beer biz.  Making it even worse: spirits and wine had strong increases in $$, volume or both.  Spirits volume up 7.3%, but $$ up 4.5%, $12.5 mil. Avg prices down almost 3%.  Meanwhile, wine volume not much better than flat. Up 0.3%. But with continued trade up, wine $$ sales up $10.9 mil, 2.6%.

Publishing Info

  • Year 2017
  • Volume 19
  • Issue # 114
Despite decades of research that link moderate drinking to health benefits, including lower risk of heart disease and better cognitive functioning, several studies that emerged over last coupla yrs prompted some researchers/ advocates to cast doubt on those links.  Two more just appeared.  Yesterday, British Medical Journal ran study that found even moderate drinking, less than 2 per day, linked to kind of brain damage “that can cause Alzheimer’s disease and dementia,” as one report noted.  Moderate drinking was also associated with declines in language fluency, but not necessarily with other measures of mental acuity.  Authors pointed out “there was no evidence of a protective effect of light drinking over abstinence on brain structure or function.”   They acknowledged that the link is not causal, and two experts pointed out that other lifestyle factors weren’t taken into account.   But the authors concluded nonetheless that their findings support Britain’s “reduction in alcohol guidance” last yr and “question the current limits recommended in the US,” up to 1/day for women, 2/day for men. Of course, headlines accentuated the negative: “This is your brain on alcohol – and it’s not good; Declines found even in moderate drinkers”; “Even Moderate Drinking May Dull the Brain”;…

Publishing Info

  • Year 2017
  • Volume 19
  • Issue # 104
April imports dropped 245,000 bbls, 7.8% according to US govt stats, reported by Beer Institute Friday afternoon.  That meant imports now up just 18,000 bbls, 0.2% yr-to-date.  But that makes little sense compared to known scan data and Constellation’s reported depletions data.  Imports were up 6.5% thru Apr 29 in Nielsen all-outlet, now up 7% thru 5/20.  And recall, Constellation, which represents over half of all imports, reported sales-to-retailers up 9-10% in 1st qtr. Constellation still flying in scan data; up 13.6% thru 5/20 in Nielsen.  Yet Mexican import shipments down 1% thru Apr, perhaps having to do with timing of last yr’s bottle recall.  Dutch imports up 3%, Belgian imports down 10% and Canadian down 6%.  Whatever the cause, import shipments do not reflect current retail trends.

Publishing Info

  • Year 2017
  • Volume 19
  • Issue # 101