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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.

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“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
Still very early days, but Yuengling off to impressive start in Indiana.  Yuengling Lager alone did about $1.5 mil in sales in Nielsen food in Indiana, getting a 7.7 share in period 4/3-5/14.  That made it #4 brand in mkt in period, bigger than Bud.  Yuengling Light Lager and Black & Tan also in top ten, getting 2.9 share and 1.6 share respectively.  That totals about a 12 share for Yuengling outta the gate, which it hasn’t seen since OH launch several yrs back.  What’s more, Yuengling putting up big numbers at price points of $21.74 per case, compared to low prices of $17.46-$17.67 for Bud, Miller Lite and Coors Light.  AB and MillerCoors still had 84 share of Indiana shipments in 2016.

Publishing Info

  • Year 2017
  • Volume 19
  • Issue # 100
Consumer Edge’s Brett Cooper not hootin’ and hollerin’, but his “deep dive into recent trends” this morn offered a slightly brighter perspective…. Brett sees “somewhat improved volume and price outlook relative to Q1, but still challenging.”  In fact, “front line pricing showing some improvement off of late 2016/early 2017 lows,” sez Brett.  Pointed to MC pricing “which has rebounded from flat at the turn of the year to up slightly less in the last 7 weeks.”  Then too, and related, subpremium pricing “back to flat,” again lookin’ at 7-wk period. Throw in high debt loads carried by both ABI and MC, ABI’s announced capex spend and fact that aggressive pricing in past hasn’t driven sustained volume growth and Brett sees “a continued rational pricing environment.”  Volumes remain soft, Brett acknowledges, but he sez biz “getting to a better place with respect to efficiency with SKU counts down and velocities improving,” which should help brewers, distribs and retailers alike.  But will it help overall volume?  At same time, AB and MC mkt share trends “generally stable,” tho both still down.   Missing from Brett’s topline: strong reasons to believe in an improved volume outlook going forward, other than that the one-offs which…

Publishing Info

  • Year 2017
  • Volume 19
  • Issue # 98