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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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Beer was soft in Apr.  Volume continued down slightly in scan for 4 week periods throughout, including down 0.9% for latest 4 weeks thru Apr 30 in Nielsen all-outlet.  But thru 4 mos of 2016,  beer volume still up 1.2% yr-to-date.  Each of AB and MC down over 2% in Apr scans; AB down 0.4% yr-to-date, compared to MC down 0.7%.  AB lost 0.8 share of volume YTD, but 1.2 share of $$.  MC lost 0.5 share of volume and 0.7 share of $$.  Constellation still up nearly 15% YTD, but gain dipped under double digits for last 4 weeks.  Up 8.5%.  It gained 0.8 share of volume and fully 1 share of $$ YTD, leading industry by far.  Total Heineken USA volume dipped nearly 4% for 4 weeks, but still up 0.7% YTD. Boston Beer also down about 4% in Apr, down 1% YTD.  Pabst volume up 8-9% including Small Town Brewery (and $$ up about 26%).  Mike’s still up 6% YTD in Nielsen, while DGUSA down 0.5% and NAB down 4%.  Mixed Megabrand Trends  Bud Light down 1.9% yr-to-date, 4% last 4 weeks and it accounts for most of AB share loss.  But Michelob Ultra remains hottest brand…

Publishing Info

  • Year 2016
  • Volume 18
  • Issue # 87
Instead of using red/white/blue colors or stars and stripes designs on its summer packaging, this year it looks like AB is “poised to make one of its biggest patriotic plays yet,” by putting “America” right on the label instead of Budweiser, per Ad Age.  Filings with Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau indicate besides use of America on packages, AB plans to use phrases such as “E Pluribus Unum,” and “indivisible since 1776,” among others, per report.  Even the AB on the label would be replaced by US instead.  AB didn’t comment to Ad Age, but possible patriotic pkging shift was “foreshadowed” by mktg veep Jorn Socquet in recent interview, when he suggested Bud brand “would make use of Olympics and Fourth of July celebrations, as well as the Copa America soccer tournament,” noted mag. “You have this wave of patriotism that is going to go up and down throughout the summertime,” said Jorn. “And we found with Budweiser such a beautiful angle to play on that sentiment.”   

Publishing Info

  • Year 2016
  • Volume 18
  • Issue # 86
“Germany’s Federal Cartel office  has fined several retailers a combined total” of $103 mil as “part of a price fixing probe focused mainly on beer” that dates back to 2010, reported WSJ.  German govt “found retailers colluded with the German subsidiary” of ABI between 2006-2009 “to fix beer prices.” Several retailers got “reduced fine because they agreed to a settlement” but office “didn’t fine AB InBev or supermarket group REWE because of their cooperation in the inquiry.”  “Commenting on the beer probe,” WSJ added, prexy of Fed Cartel office said ABI “coordinated price increases with retailers on several occasions and the brewery ensured those hikes occurred simultaneously across competing retailers.”  

Publishing Info

  • Year 2016
  • Volume 18
  • Issue # 86
Stunning situation developed late last week when Calif ABC director Tim Gorsuch suddenly resigned and in rare if not unprecedented move,  California Highway Patrol at least temporarily took over ABC function.  Calif Highway Patrol has already named temporary director, also district directors for northern and southern districts.  It is interviewing numerous other personnel about what went on at agency. None of this aired out in public yet.  “The whole place is totally dysfunctional,” said one source, especially since ABC chief deputy director Lori Ajax left to work on medical marijuana.  Lori reportedly played key role in long running investigation into trade practices, especially those of ABI.  That investigation started perhaps 6 months ago without charge or resolution.  Separately, ABC levied  fine against AB for bar bucks in a single account in San Diego last Sept.  Investigation has seemingly languished in her absence.   Is there any other state in US where highway patrol in charge of ABC?  What’s it all mean?  Stay tuned.    

Publishing Info

  • Year 2016
  • Volume 18
  • Issue # 86
Just days after suit became public, the Int’l Brotherhood of Teamsters has already announced it will host conf call this Friday “to discuss potential obstacles to Justice Department antitrust approval of the proposed” deal to buy SABMiller and sale of MillerCoors JV to Molson Coors. Suit filed by Pabst “raises concerns about the Eden closure,” per Teamsters statement.  MC’s shutting down Eden, NC plant “will eliminate needed production capacity in the U.S., drive up prices for consumers and harm industry competition,” said David Laughton, dir of Teamster’s Brewery Workers’ Conference, which represents all teamsters at 11 ABI breweries and 3 MC breweries.  “It is becoming harder to see how the U.S. Justice Department can greenlight this deal without addressing the anticompetitive effects of an Eden closure,” he added.  

Publishing Info

  • Year 2016
  • Volume 18
  • Issue # 86
Among the many legislative battles pitting brewer vs brewer and wholesalers vs AB is issue of allowing retailers to lease coolers from industry members. Supporters, like AB, argue such laws provide stores and consumers with additional service and convenience via more cold beer. Opponents, like competing distribs and craft brewers, say retailers can access coolers from non-industry members, and such coolers “tied” to brewers would provide competitive advantage, additional shelf space and more advertising to those brewers. Craft brewers say they can’t afford to play at that level. Issue has been hotly contested in AB’s home state Mo this session. Senate passed a bill including provision that allows leased coolers. House just passed similar provision, but it goes back to Senate for another vote, reports St Lou Public Radio. And there’s a second bill still floating around with similar measures. So a few twists and turns still possible. If a bill passes Senate again, goes to the Gov.

Publishing Info

  • Year 2016
  • Volume 18
  • Issue # 80