AB-Inbev records third quarter UK growth

AB-Inbev has reported increased sales in its UK business in the third quarter of 2020, despite an overall decline in beer volumes in its EMEA division.

The company’s group results, published today, show a volume decline of 6.5% in the EMEA region, whose sales were dented by the temporary alcohol ban in South Africa.

AB-Inbev’s results statement described its performance in Europe as “healthy” with revenue growth of “mid-single digits”.

EMEA volumes for the first nine months of 2020 were 12.9% below the same period last year and revenue declined by “high single digits”.

Paula Lindenberg, president of AB-Inbev’s Budweiser Brewing Group UK and Ireland business, said the UK grew in volume and value in the third quarter.

“Our iconic brands, including Budweiser, Stella Artois and Corona, performed strongly, showcasing the strength of our brand portfolio,” she said.

“In recent months, our penetration grew 40%, representing almost an additional 2 million households entering the category and choosing our portfolio of brands to enjoy in new occasions. We are confident this will lead to continued growth.

“Stella Artois and Budweiser remained the number one and number two most valuable beer brands in the off-trade, while Corona grew at nearly three times the rate of the total category.”

Lindenberg said that double-digt growth had been achieved for Stella Artois Alcohol-Free and Budweiser Zero.

Lindenberg praised “the amazing tenacity and drive of our teams, in our breweries, in our offices or on the road", and added: “We have continued to focus on the future and have prioritised important expansion projects at our UK breweries to increase capacity to meet growing consumer demand.

“Looking forward, we will harness our learnings from the first wave of the Covid-19 period so far, as well as the strength of our teams, to adapt to any evolving challenges that may arise.”

AB-Inbev’s global volumes sales in the third quarter of the year were up 1.9%, led by 14.7% growth in South America. Revenue was up 4% globally.

Group volumes for the first nine months were down 8.2%, with the biggest falls in Central America and Asia Pacific. Global revenue was down 6.8% in the same period.