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Beer Marketer's INSIGHTS

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Beer Marketer's INSIGHTS, our flagship newsletter, is published 23X a year. For the last 38 years, it has frequently been the first and often only publication to report the most important beer industry facts, trends, and insights. Each issue features four info-packed pages. Inside, you'll find the latest news and numbers about the US beer business, with a special focus on exclusive articles and analysis. Readers of Beer Marketer's INSIGHTS get the info necessary to stay abreast of the latest industry events, and the understanding of those events. Here's just a small sampling of what you'll find inside:

Beer Marketer's INSIGHTS is written by the most experienced and knowledgeable staff serving the industry. More execs keep up-to-date by reading Beer Marketer's INSIGHTS than any other beer industry publication.

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Remember when Barton/Gambrinus became unified Crown and it held promise of creating earnings engine? Well, it hasn't happened and not likely this yr either. That's for a variety of reasons, including tuff economy, ill-timed Corona price hike, consumer shifts, organizational hitches etc. Not only was Crown oper income down $5 mil, 1% to $504 mil for Constellation's fiscal yr ending Feb 09, but Constellation forecast Crown earnings "down slightly" over next 12 mos. Revs flat for 12 mos thru Feb 09, tho Constellation had said numerous times that it would grow at mid-single digit rate last yr. This yr, it projects "flattish" sales, but down 6% in latest qtr thru Feb (going against estimated double-digit decline same 3 mos last yr). Why will sales improve? Crown will get more promotional. "Yes we are planning on being aggressive" in beer biz, said Constellation ceo Robert Sands during conference call, "and we do hope that will be positive with its impact on volume." Increased discounts will be "self-liquidating" with regards to earnings (i.e. Constellation expects higher cost to be offset by better volume trend). So why are Crown's earnings expected to be down again? Because of "contracted" increases in cost of goods…

Publishing Info

  • Year 2009
  • Volume 40
  • Issue # 7
MC placed ton of emphasis on chains, understandably. Chains are 40% of biz, up 2.5% in 08 for MC, and it expects chains to be over half of biz in 5 yrs or so. A key objective: to "drive Wal-Mart volume." As consumer shifts to Wal-Mart, Wal-Mart is shifting to beer," noted veep Kevin Doyle. Beer is a 110-mil case, $2 bil biz in Wal-Mart and it wants to double that in next few yrs. Yep, that's right. Wal-Mart would like to be over 220 mil cases in 3-4 yrs (7-8% of total US beer biz). No wonder MC has goal of growing revs 27% in Wal-Mart in 2009. Kevin called Wal-Mart, MillerCoors' "single biggest opportunity to win as one in the next few years." He also cited MC's recent win as category captain of largest Midwest regional chain Meijer's. Articulated another audacious goal for MC: gain 1 share point in c-stores in 09. In all channels, MC seeks 250,000 new placements in 09, and 12,000 new points of draft distribution. MC went from 61% of its volume consolidated in July to "more than 70%" now, said prexy East Tom Cardella. Noted there were 52 transactions in last 6 mos…

Publishing Info

  • Year 2009
  • Volume 40
  • Issue # 6
We've tweaked our traditional look at beer biz segments to show more of price-driven view than previous mix of style/price. But no matter how you look at segments for 08, 3 key points emerge: 1) hottest growth segment by far was once-moribund superpremiums, brands sold at prices between premium and import/craft; 2) subpremiums, driven by lower-priced light beers and ice beer, outperformed premium segment in 08; 3) imports not only underperformed for 2d-straight year, but turned negative and lost share. Successful intro of Bud Light Lime drove superpremiums' outperformance. BLL added 1.6 mil bbls, but it wasn't only winner. Bud/Bud Light Chelada added over half-mil bbls. Blue Moon tacked on another 250,000 bbls of growth. Still, Chill was down big, and Michelob family took net loss. In all, superpremium segment up 2.4 mil bbls, 27% in 08, surpassed craft shipments by almost 2 mil bbls and returned to slightly over 5 share of total shipments for 1st time in yrs. Interestingly, while craft brewers on roll last 3 yrs, up 2.25 mil bbls, 31%, big brewers showed some high-end muscle same period: up 3.4 mil bbls, 43% in superpremium segment. AB really dominates segment, with 3 of 4 largest selling…

Publishing Info

  • Year 2009
  • Volume 40
  • Issue # 5
Final figures ain't in yet, but looks like beer steadied in 08, at least in terms of share of absolute alcohol volume and $$. After losing share of the alc bev biz in each of the previous 5-6 yrs, beer's combo of modest volume gain and solid pricing as wine and spirits slowed suggests beer gained share of $$ and almost held volume share. Spirits volume rose just 1.6% in 2008, according to DISCUS. That's slowest trend for liquor since 2001. Off-premise spirits volume up 2.9%, but on-premise down 2.2% and lost at least 3% (volume) in final qtr. Supplier dollar sales rose 2.8% to $18.7 bil for the yr. That was 32.9% of alc bev $$ at supplier level, DISCUS figures. Down 0.2 in 08. That's after 6-year string of solid growth from 28.7% in 01 to 33.1% in 07. DISCUS prexy Peter Cressy acknowledged loss was to beer. In subsequent conversation, AB sales veep Evan Athanas told INSIGHTS AB also sees increased trade over from wine/spirits to beer. Beer volume up just 0.6-0.7% in 08, but dollar sales at supplier level hadda be up 4%+. For 9 mos, AB $$ sales up 5% and that was before Oct…

Publishing Info

  • Year 2009
  • Volume 40
  • Issue # 3
AB InBev certainly can't be accused of sitting still. Several early 09 AB InBev moves underscored its continued focus on cost cutting, managing money (including huge debt load) as well as initial efforts to remake itself. In quick succession, AB InBev, announced a NY office, more job cuts, changed payment terms from 30 to 120 days, issued $5 bil in new debt, restarted asset sale process, and more. ABI extended payment terms from AB's old 30 days to 120 days for its top 500 vendors, wrote St Lou Post Dispatch. That doesn't make vendors happy (some already hollerin' on P-D's Lager Heads blog). "If you are not able to work with the change in payment terms, we may have to consider an alternate supplier," ABI wrote suppliers. "While we recognize these terms may be difficult for some of our suppliers, they are consistent with standards used by other multinational companies and we hope we will be able to continue working together." ABI told Lager Heads that decision "comes after a month-long review of our global payment policies" and "ensures" AB's "payment practices are consistent with those in place globally for AB Inbev. The new terms will help us better manage…

Publishing Info

  • Year 2009
  • Volume 40
  • Issue # 2
Credit crunch and worsening macroeconomic environment may have curtailed activity overall, but sure didn't stop flurry of yrend beer distrib deals. Consolidation is once again topic du jour. In following roundup, INSIGHTS tracks about 20 late 08 deals (many first reported in our e-letter INSIGHTS Express). That's more than ever, with even more in works. Increasingly, distribs buy others in bunches, cleaning up mkts as designated consolidators. At least 4 distribs bought 3 or more distribs in 2d half 08. Most active: DBI Bev of Sacramento. Closed on Coors distribs in Sacramento, Stockton, and smaller Miller Coors distrib Angell in Ukiah. Also has deal in works to sell off its original 1.2-mil-case Memphis biz. DBI buys totaled about 7.5 mil cases; it will distribute 25 mil cases of bevs. New power player emerged in AB system: Jeffreys Dist, which bought 3 AB NC distribs in 2d half 08. It more than doubled its size to 11 mil cases (in 6 locations) and became one of AB's top 10-15 distribs. At yrend, Jeffreys bought approx 2-mil case Atlantic Bev in New Bern and 1 mil case Seago Bev in Rockingham, following purchase of 3.5-mil-case Jackson Bev Co in Sep. Jeffreys had…

Publishing Info

  • Year 2009
  • Volume 40
  • Issue # 1