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Import Mid-Year Review; Very Lopsided Gains/Losses Amid Solid Segment Growth

Both shipment and scan data show import segment up in 5% range Jan-Jun.  But trends within segment extremely uneven. Mexican brews increasingly dominate the category.  Indeed, Mexican beers grabbed fully 70 share of total import shipments, and over 12 share of US volume on their own.  What’s more, Mexican volume +13.5 mil cases Jan-Jun, while total imports up just 11.8 mil cases. Trends from other key source countries all over the map.  Dutch shipments very soft, -3 mil cases, 9%. But Belgian/German shipments combined (to adjust for shifting Stella Artois shipping patterns in different time frames) up solid 1.7 mil cases, 9.5%.  Meanwhile, Canadian and Irish shipments basically even. UK shipments tanked, -1.1 mil cases, -57%. Italy and Jamaica showing strong growth on modest bases. Those 9 countries supply almost 98% of all beer imported to US.  Among top import brands, IRI MULC scans show same variation. As in mainstream beer, top brands strugglin’; innovation, plus 1 established brand, drive import growth. Indeed, 4 of top 5 import brands flat or down yr-to-date thru Jul 15 in scans.  Corona Extra dipped 170K cases, 0.6%. Modelo Especial gained 3.9 mil cases, 16%. Heineken down near 2% and Dos Equis Lager off 1.2%. Stella Artois up just 0.3%, after averaging about 14% growth over previous 5 yrs. Among other leading import brands, trends range from -11% for Tecate/Tecate Light and -8% for Corona Light to up mid-singles for Guinness and Pacifico, off mid-singles for Labatt Blue.  But look at those Corona extensions! Corona Familiar and Premier each among top 10 imports in scans YTD. They supplied 2/3 of total import growth and collectively sold over 5 mil cases, more than Stella Artois in scan. Not among top-100, but Sol +131.3% (sold 350K cases); Estrella Jallisco +15.9% (sold 365K cases). So, a mixed bag.

Publishing Info

  • Year: 2018
  • Volume: 49
  • Issue #: 15
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