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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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Brewer shipments really slowed during peak selling season and industry not much better than flat yr-to-date. After putting up 1.6-mil-bbl, 2.1% gain Jan-May, domestic brewers' taxpaid shipments down 428,000 bbls, 0.8% Jun-Aug, estimates Beer Inst's Lester Jones. That pulled YTD taxpaid shipments gain below 1%. Meanwhile, imports stayed sluggish: down 3% Jan-Jul. Add 'em together and US shipments up just 626,000 bbls, 0.4% YTD. And that's goin' into widespread Q4 price increase, struggling economy and not-so-easy comp of +2.6% in Q4 07 taxpaids. Imports have very easy comp tho, -9.6% Sep-Dec 07. Recent slowdown reflected in c-stores, where case volume up just 0.1% for 12 wks thru Sep 6, reports Nielsen, well below +0.8% 52-wk trend. Another not-so-hot sign in c-stores: lowest-price "budget" beers gained 0.4 share over the summer, while imports lost 0.3, premiums -1.1 and craft share flat. But biz got better in supers over summer. Volume +2.1% for 13 wks thru Sep 7, IRI reports. That's while 52-wk trend +1.3%, following flat 07, -1% in 06. No signs of trade-down to subpremiums in supers either. Summer volume of sub-premiums up just 0.2% and they continued to lose share. Most higher-priced categories outperformed subs: super-premium biz jumped 24%…

Publishing Info

  • Year 2008
  • Volume 39
  • Issue # 19
Jan-Mar 08 a soft qtr for Miller.  Miller STRs for 12 mos thru Mar 08 solid with inclusion of McKenzie brands: +3.1% selling-day adjusted.  Without McKenzie, organic STRs rose +0.7%.  But Miller STRs up 1.4% for 9 mos thru Dec.  That means STRs down approx 1.5% Jan-Mar.  Look at Lite.  Had been +2% for 9 mos, but up just 1.1% for 12 mos.  So Lite STRs down about 1.5% for Jan-Mar period too.  Key retail channel numbers tell similar story.  In c-stores, Miller Lite even in calendar 07, reports Nielsen.  But Lite down 0.3% YTD thru Mar 22 in c-stores, -0.8% for 4 weeks.  In supers, Lite up 2.6% in 07, but -2% YTD thru Apr 6, sez IRI.  More recent data washes out pop from early Easter.  Indeed, Lite down 3.5% for 4 wks thru Apr 6.  In toto, Miller still up 1.6% in c-stores YTD thru Mar 22, but down 1.4% in supers YTD thru Apr 6.  Down 3.7% in supers for 4 wks.  Meanwhile, pending partner Coors up 5-6% in both channels YTD.    Other news from SABMiller.  Pricing stayed healthy: Miller rev per bbl up 4% for 12 mos thru Mar 08.  Miller’s “worthmore” STRs --…

Publishing Info

  • Year 2008
  • Volume 39
  • Issue # 8
After Modelo execs announced exports just flat in 07, including 6% drop in 4th qtr, as well as modest expectations for 08, analysts peppered them with questions about US in  Feb 21 conference call.  Many expressed surprise.  Morgan Stanley’s Lore Serra said “2007 was obviously a very different year in the export market than, I think, anybody thought it would be.”  Several asked for more clarity on pricing, volume, profits for 08 exports.  Modelo guided for “low-to-mid single digit growth” in exports (US 82% of 07 exports, not over 85% we estimated).  That number would be Modelo shipments to US.  Crown expects mid- to-high-single digit sales to wholesalers.  Total US import mkt will only grow about 1%, forecasts intl veep Jose Pares.  Modelo expecting another tough yr, affected by economy, domestic pricing on larger package sizes, increased competition, etc.  Crown pricing will stay the same.  And so will profits.  “We will maintain our profitability” in the US, added Jose.  Emphasized Modelo “not expecting any decline.”  Crown made $524 mil oper income in its first yr on sales of $2.5 bil, more than anyone else except AB in US, but that’s less than expected, and Modelo doesn’t expect much profit growth…

Publishing Info

  • Year 2008
  • Volume 39
  • Issue # 5
On Mar 5, Molson Coors cfo Tim Wolf cited “great momentum” in US biz and called trend “similar” to several weeks earlier when it had reported hi-single digit growth in 08. INSIGHTS hears number very close to 9%. Yet Coors doing even better than that in many mkts. Up 13% in Fla thru week 8. Up 15% in West. And NY metro up over 30%. Even if comps easy, these are some truly shocking growth rates. Can they be sustained? INSIGHTS wonders where the laggards are. Coors volume up “only” 7% in supers thru Feb 24, sez IRI, including Coors Light up 5.4%, Keystone Light up 13%, Coors Banquet up 13%, Blue Moon up 31%, plus pop from Blue Moon seasonals. Coors key account program payin’ divi-dends, up more than 6% there in 07, prexy Peter Swinburn said at Mar 5 meeting. Last yr, Coors got 95,000 new placements of Coors Light and Keystone Light, which accounted for fully 40% of Coors growth. What’s more, AB still has between 650,000-800,000 more place-ments than Coors, so there’s “plenty of headroom,” added Peter. Molson Coors ceo Leo Kiely said he looks forward to MillerCoors JV, that he expects ap-proval this summer. When…

Publishing Info

  • Year 2008
  • Volume 39
  • Issue # 5
“We feel pretty good about where we are right now with Crown and the beer business,” said Constellation prexy/CEO Rob Sands during conference call last week.  If you look  apples-to-apples, Crown sales “slightly negative” for fiscal yr ending Feb 08 going against big back half the yr before, acknowledged CFO Bob Ryder.  But depletions “would have been positive in low single-digits,” Bob said.  And Rob and Bob repeated numerous times the guidance that “Crown is confident in its ability to achieve mid single-digit depletion growth” for fiscal 09.  That’s even tho Calif “has not bounced back at this stage.”  But, “in a number of markets” where late 06/early 07 price increase has been cycled, “we are seeing a return to solid growth trends,” including double-digit gains in Tex and eastern mkts.  Pointed to similar pattern in past: “flattened out sales growth” for 12-15 mos after Corona price increase, then “growth returns at a bit lower rate” than before increase.  Current volume guidance takes into account “potential softness” in Calif.  How does Crown view new competition aimed at Corona?  Lotsa products “geared or aimed to compete with Corona Extra” over the yrs, but “we’ve been very successful in competing against those…

Publishing Info

  • Year 2008
  • Volume 39
  • Issue # 7
Boston Beer growth exploded last 2 yrs and led craft segment resurgence.  It followed 17% growth in 06 with 17% growth in 07 (craft segment grew 12% each yr).  Grew a half-mil bbls in 2 yrs to hit 1.848 mil bbls.  Compare that to 10-yr trend: Boston up less than 700,000 bbls 1997-07.  So 70% of its growth in last 10 yrs came in last 2.  Its revs jumped $56 mil, 19.7% to $341 mil in 07 and oper income hit $37 mil, up 32%.  Boston oper income more than tripled from $11 mil to $37 mil last 5 yrs and its oper margin doubled from 5.4 to 10.8.  Oper margin now in same ballpark as Coors and Miller.  Boston Beer rev per bbl at $182, up 2.8%. That’s 57% higher than AB’s $116.  Boston ended 07 with $95 mil in cash.  After net inc tripled and sales strong in 4th qtr, Boston’s stock surged 26% in 1 day.  Stock still almost 20% below peak (recall, it got clobbered on costs after 3d qtr), but stock has made up lotsa ground. Orders-in-hand suggest shipments continued up at a double-digit rate, Boston said.  Up 10% in 1st qtr.   And sales-to-retailers even…

Publishing Info

  • Year 2008
  • Volume 39
  • Issue # 6