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Western Beverage LLC will buy 4.2 mil case Double Eagle Distributing, as first reported by St Lou Biz Jnl. Deal expected to close by end of yr. Western Bev is owned by Sue McCollum, who is also chairman/ceo of Major Brands and also owns Eagle Brands in Miami. Double Eagle is a non-contiguous AB distrib in South FL. Between Double Eagle and Eagle, Sue will sell over 10 mil cases following this transaction. Double Eagle owned by Orthwein family, who are Busch descendants. Ceo James Orthwein Jr is the grandson of Clara Busch who was Adolphus Busch’s granddaughter. James Orthwein Sr for many yrs headed ad agency which had Bud account and served on AB board for almost 40 yrs. So Orthwein family another part of legacy AB that is exiting the system. But one of most intriguing angles of this deal is that Double Eagle is also a Constellation distrib. Double Eagle competes with Reyes operation Gold Coast. Double Eagle sells in Del Ray Beach, which is where Sands family winters. And a supplier can redirect in a sale in FL, sez source. So could yet more Constellation volume be headed towards Reyes Holdings? Several more AB distrib deals…

Publishing Info

  • Year 2019
  • Volume 21
  • Issue # 186
As retailers continue to challenge state residency laws for retailers in wake of Jun US Sup Ct decision, retailer advocates also continue to press state legislators to pass laws that would allow wine/liquor retailers to ship across state lines. Recall, one key case won by retailers last yr declared Mich law barring out-of-state stores from shipping to Mich consumers unconstitutional. (Mich allows its retailers to ship to in-state consumers.) US Dist Ct tossed Mich law last fall, but put injunction on hold until US Sup Ct decided Tenn case. Now that Tenn case decided, state’s appeal will be heard by US Court of Appeals for 6th Circuit. Briefs will be filed this fall. As that plays out, Natl Assn of Wine Retailers (NAWR) calls on Mich legislature “to fix an unconstitutional Michigan wine shipping law,” and “craft a constitutional law that doesn’t seek to protect special interests, but rather allows Michigan consumers to receive wine shipments from out-of-state wine retailers and the state to collect taxes on those shipments.” Press release also takes aim at Michigan Beer and Wine Wholesalers Assn (MBWWA), which NAWR claims “assured lawmakers the law’s discrimination against out-of-state retailers was perfectly permissible and could not be…

Publishing Info

  • Year 2019
  • Volume 21
  • Issue # 178
Nielsen all-outlet scans strong again for latest 4-wk period thru Aug 3. Volume +1.8% and $$ up 5.3%. That drove volume back into the plus column yr-to-date, +0.1% and $$ +2.7%. How much is seltzer driving the positive change? FMB volume +42.4% in most recent period vs +26.5% yr-to-date. FMBs grabbed additional 3.6 mil case-equivalents for 4 wks while industry up 2.3 mil cases. Mike’s actually up 80% for 4 wks. Truly-driven Boston gain was 32.3%. And Diageo Beer Co posted a 20% increase. Craft flipped back to positive territory, tho up just 0.7% for 4 wks; still off slightly YTD. Above premium now approaching 4 share gain; +3.6 share of volume for 4 wks to 41.4, +3.7 share of $$ to 54.3. Constellation up 10%+ for 4 wks and yr-to-date. AB and MC each off about 2% for 4 wks, MC trend an improvement from -3.5% YTD while AB on basically same pace both periods (-2.2/2.3%). Miller Lite and Coors Banquet each up 1% for 4 wks, sole gainers among top-10 premium brands. No improvement in Bud Light trend (-7.5% YTD); slight improvement for Coors Light (-3% for 4 wks vs -4.6% YTD). Pabst and HUSA still down low-doubles,…

Publishing Info

  • Year 2019
  • Volume 21
  • Issue # 164
Per usual, annual Gallup Poll of Americans’ drinking habits will have folks both nodding and scratching their heads. Yet again, US drinking rate – Gallup asks adults age 18+ if they “have occasion to drink” – remarkably stable at 65%. Believe it or not, that’s within 1-3 pts of what it was in 2009, 1999, 1988, 1978, and 1947! Some things don’t change, regardless of how many others things do. In sharp contrast, year-to-year bev choice sweepstakes shows volatility continues to reign. When drinkers asked what they consume most often, long-term trends support shift from beer to spirits. But spirits spiked from 19% in 2018 to 29% in 2019. That’s after having fallen from 26% in 2017. Howzzat happen? Meanwhile, previous 5-yr avg for spirits preference was 22%. Beer fell from averaging 42% in previous 5 yrs to 38% in 2019. Wine dipped slightly to 32%. Note too: these figures do not reflect each bev’s actual share of alcohol consumed. In 2018, beer had 48 share, spirits 36 share and wine just 16 share based on shipments. One other constant about Gallup Poll (and all alc bev surveys): what people say about their drinking and what they actually do, and…

Publishing Info

  • Year 2019
  • Volume 21
  • Issue # 162
First priority of Pabst for 2019 as stated in series of regional meetings late last year: to raise Pabst Blue Ribbon prices to premium. But that clearly didn’t work. PBR, which is half of Pabst volume, almost immediately declined at far faster rate. Losses even steeper in 2019. And now at least in some geographies, Pabst has told distribs it will lower prices on Pabst, starting next month, sources said. Not all the way back to where they were but lower than where they are now, we’re told. More details when we get ’em. Pabst Blue Ribbon volume down 14% yr-to-date thru Jul 13 in Nielsen all outlet and 16% for 4 weeks. Avg price up $1.07, over 6% per case last 4 weeks to $18.07. That’s almost $2/case higher than Busch, $2.70/case higher than Natty Light. But $$ sales still down 11% same period. Total Pabst Brewing volume down 11% YTD, $$ down 8%. Is Pabst Hard Coffee A Ray of Hope? Pabst recently getting lotsa ink for its new Hard Coffee (5% ABV), made with “rich, creamy American milk,” and debuting in 5 states (PA, ME, NJ, FL and GA). Anecdotal reports suggest brand is selling outta gate.…

Publishing Info

  • Year 2019
  • Volume 21
  • Issue # 148
A truly wild coupla weeks for AB InBev. Just days after it pulled unsuccessful Asian IPO (Budweiser APAC), ABI struck deal with Asahi to sell its Australian beer biz for $11.3 bil US. Deal illustrates ABI’s determination to reduce its debt and considerable financial ingenuity. “Substantially all of the proceeds from the divestiture of the Australian business will be used to pay down debt,” said ABI. This deal will get ABI down from $98 bil to $87 bil debt, said Jeffries analyst Edward Mundy and debt to EBITDA multiple will go from 4.2 to 3.9x, he sez. ABI target is to get under 4x debt to EBITDA by end of 2020. But it hadda sell profitable Aussie biz to get there (about $760 mil in EBITDA in 2018). Still, it got good price. “The transaction represents an implied multiple of 14.9x 2018 normalized EBITDA,” ABI said. That’s “favorable” multiple, said Mundy. Plus it positions ABI to potentially refile its Asian IPO at a higher multiple. “Pretty much positive all around,” said Bernstein’s Trevor Stirling. Stock popped 6% with deal. How quickly the boos turned to cheers. Only a few days ago media and analysts piled on ABI’s huge debt load…

Publishing Info

  • Year 2019
  • Volume 21
  • Issue # 145
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 2019 Beer Marketer's Insights Seminar

★ANNOUNCING★
The 2019 Beer Insights Seminar will be held in New York City, on Sunday evening, November 17th to Monday, November 18th at Convene.