AB Inbev hails UK performance of Stella, Budweiser and Corona

AB Inbev has reported double-digit growth in the UK off-trade during the final quarter of 2017 and said it capped “a strong year for our UK business”.

It claimed that Stella Artois, Budweiser, Corona and Bud Light are the top four contributors to beer category growth in the off-trade, citing Nielsen and Kantar data for 2017.

The supplier believes the momentum will continue into 2018 as the World Cup looms large on the horizon.

Jason Warner, president at AB InBev North Europe, said: “Stella Artois has kept its place as the UK’s number one beer brand and over the Christmas period was the UK’s biggest-selling alcohol brand in the off-trade.

“Meanwhile, Budweiser is the top driver of category growth and was named as one of the country’s fastest-growing grocery products in 2017. Corona is also accelerating, and is now the UK’s biggest world lager brand.

“Despite Bud Light only arriving to UK shores in March last year, it is already the top growth driver for standard lager, refreshing the core beer category for the millennial generation. To top it off, we launched Budweiser Prohibition at the end of last year, bringing the alcohol-free version of the King of Beers to lead the way in giving consumers more choice in the emerging no-alcohol and low-alcohol beer segment.

“Looking forward, we are set to continue this momentum, leading category growth in a long-term, sustainable way and sharing this success with our on-trade and off-trade customers. We aim to expand our on-trade footprint and invest in our speciality brands within our premium portfolio, like Camden Hells.

“Sustainability will also continue to be a focus for our UK operations, as our breweries become even more efficient in water conservation and energy use and we look to increase the amount of British barley we use in our beers from 50% to 100%.

“2018 is going to be a huge year for the beer and pub industry, as national celebrations like the World Cup bring people together, and we are looking forward to showing up at these cultural moments in a big way.”

On a global basis, AB Inbev reported higher profit than expected in the fourth quarter of 2017 due to Brazil rebounding and savings from its 2016 purchase of SABMiller.

Total volumes sold rose 1.6% in the quarter to 146 million hl, with own-beer volumes 2.3% higher at 126.8 million hl.