AB InBev notes craft beer slowdown

Pic: iStock/ValentynVolkov

AB InBev has noted a slowdown in the US craft sector in its Q3 results, although CEO Carlos Brito says it’s ‘too early to call’ on what this means for the future. 

AB InBev estimates that selling day adjusted industry beer sales to retailers in the US were down 2.6% in 3Q16: ‘driven by the timing of the July 4th holiday and a slowdown in the craft segment’.

Speaking in last week’s earning’s call for the Q3 results, Brito said that AB InBev’s craft brands are doing ‘very well’, but believes that consumer fatigue could impact the sector.

“Of course craft has been growing for the past few years, we as a market leader like that a lot because it’s a growth segment and a very profitable segment,” he said.

“And now after some years of really building a portfolio we’re very active in that segment, we’re gaining share in that segment, and our craft brands are doing very well.”

Goose Island, the Chicago-based brewery AB InBev acquired in 2011, is growing double digit, Brito added.  

But stockists and consumers alike could be starting to show fatigue with the craft beer phenomenon, he said.  

“But what we see in some customers is that there is some kind of thinking at this point about how much more of an assortment can you carry? Customers began to realize some time ago that there’s only so much shelf space you can share.

“I think that it’s like anything else – at some point consumers also get tired of so much choice and they start going for fewer brands.

“This is all speculation on our side, it’s too early to call, but again we like the segment, we think it’s great the segment is growing, it’s elevating beer, it’s a growth segment, a profitable segment. But it’s too early to call.” 

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