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St Lou metro MillerCoors wholesaler Summit has finally sold his portfolio of InBev brands to 5 Bud distribs, Grey Eagle, Krey, Lohr, Herrell and Mullaly, and the Bud guys swapped Grolsch to Summit, wrote St Lou Biz Jnl. Not exactly an equal exchange. So what broke the longterm logjam? Well, Summit also acquired the Heineken USA portfolio in part of its territory from Major Brands, expanding its footprint with HUSA. Major Brands apparently the facilitator. Recall, Major Brands is the St Lou based wine and spirits distrib owned by Todd Epsten, who also recently hired AB veep Tony Short. And Major Brands also owns Oreg AB distrib Western Brands. Major Brands likely looking to get bigger and helping out AB in its home mkt probably didn’t hurt. Then too, Missouri has become something of a hotbed of deal making activity lately. Grey Eagle and Krey recently acquired Missouri Eagle LLC in Washington. Summit also bought tiny Miller distrib Calvin’s in 2010. And Lohr also added a number of craft brands in Oct, Biz Jnl reminded.

Publishing Info

  • Year 2011
  • Volume 13
  • Issue # 16
Nice comeback for imports following 10% drop in 2009, 3.4% decline in 2008, just a 1.5% gain in 07. Imports up 103,000 bbls, 5.8% in Dec, pushing final 2010 gain to 1.3 mil bbls, just a tick below 5%. Means imports back over 13 share of US biz, after dipping to 12.4 in 2009. That’s still about a half-point off peak of 13.7 in 06-07 and imports still approx 2 mil bbls below shipments peak (after adjusting out Blue Moon in 07). With solid imports and TTB reporting slightly higher taxpaid numbers for end of yr, turns out total 2010 US shipments coming in at 208.4 mil bbls, -1.7 mil bbls, -0.8%. That’s right, US beer shipments down less than 1% in 2010 after having been down nearly 3% in the 1st half. As we’ve noted previously, that’s also quite a bit better than preliminary state shipments trend estimated by Beer Inst (-1.5%), as well as depletions and scanner data (closer to -2%). Part of gap explained by big “All Others” import gain in 2010, players below top 5. That figure bounces around a lot (took big dive in 08 and 09, for example, vs huge % gain in 2010)…

Publishing Info

  • Year 2011
  • Volume 13
  • Issue # 15
That was one key message from consultant Joe Thompson at packed early AM seminar at NBWA this morn. Taking cue from big suppliers, distribs have pared costs in big way in recent yrs and possibly “gravitating too much to logistics.” Joe still advocates that distribs should try to get operating costs down to 15% level, but cuts should not be at expense of brand building. Some of the direction “a bit scary,” Joe thinks, and he suggests “tweaks” that would provide value to brands via efforts by distribs that align with where consumers (and successful craft brewers) are going: local mktg, hand selling, social mktg etc. Distribs face question of whether they want to be logistics system, brand builders of something in middle. Suggests a 7-10 pt spread between operating cost and gross profit as one that may strike proper balance. Brand building efforts especially important in time when consumers have lotsa bev options, alc and non-alc, they didn’t have in past. Another Joe mantra: “volume, volume, volume, volume.” Joe “hates fact that we’re losing volume” and remains pessimistic at least in short term He still thinks 2010 volume will be down more than 3%, despite Aug shipments pop and…

Publishing Info

  • Year 2010
  • Volume 12
  • Issue # 100
August’s nearly 1-mil-bbl shipments pop looks more like loading in advance of price hike and other shortterm shipment anomalies when you examine state-by-state shipments data from Beer Institute. Shipments to fully 17 states up double digits in Aug. Two states, Fla and NY, were up 250,000 bbls between ‘em. That’s over 25% of increase in mo (less than 10% of volume). Several smaller population states had ridiculously outsized increases, like ND up 23%, Vt up 18%, Delaware up 16%. These numbers don’t look or feel natural. Not to mention that we’ve already heard from a number of sources that September again weak. Beer biz is not out-of-the-woods yet.

Publishing Info

  • Year 2010
  • Volume 12
  • Issue # 99
Caught up with Tenth and Blake prexy Tom Cardella last week, about MillerCoors’ new unit which aims to “provide focus, resources and the right type of thinking against smaller, but high potential businesses,” said Tom. Like import and especially craft. Tom pointed to Tenth and Blake’s many brewing assets focused against this opportunity: Leinenkugel’s Chippewa Falls brewery, 300,000 bbls capacity; 10th and Blake, 50,000 bbls (Milwaukee); Sandlot, 3,000 bbls (Denver-inside Rockies Field), and AC Golden, 15,000 bbls (Golden, Colo). Not to mention what Tom calls the “largest craft brand,” Blue Moon, still trucking along up more than 20%. Tenth & Blake also looks to “celebrate and communicate” the understanding that “we are great brewers” with new program called “Brewers Unleashed.” At monthly get togethers in various offices and company pubs, these brewers get to show their stuff, with an eye towards “commercializing their creativity.” Tenth and Blake has lots more going on. More detail from our discussion in next issue of our new publication, Craft Brew News.

Publishing Info

  • Year 2010
  • Volume 12
  • Issue # 97
Took almost 2 yrs, but as most expected, “an arbitration panel issued a decision finding that the combination of Anheuser Busch and InBev did not violate the investment agreement between entities of AB and Grupo Modelo,” AB InBev announced a few hours ago. So no award, no penalties, no change for now in ABI Modelo relationship. ABI owns non-controlling 50.2% stake of Diblo, which owns brewing biz of Grupo Modelo. ABI “looks forward to continuing its successful business relationship with Grupo Modelo,” ABI said. But will that relationship get closer? Many expect ABI to make a bid for the rest of Modelo, but Bernstein’s Trevor Stirling already has note out opining that “deal looks unlikely in the near term.” Why’s that? “Possible discussions may have foundered,” Trevor wrote because: 1) potential antitrust issues in US if ABI were to gain full control of Modelo (recall Justice made ABI divest Labatt USA, and Modelo biz 7X bigger than what Labatt USA sells here; 2) hard to figure a “fair price” for Modelo given Constellation’s 50% share of Crown and any potential “remedy” Justice might come up with. Then too, not a lotta indication Modelo anxious to sell. Decision “strengthens AB InBev’s…

Publishing Info

  • Year 2010
  • Volume 12
  • Issue # 72