ABInbev reports double-digit growth in UK for 2018

ABInbev UK & Ireland has reported double-digit growth for 2018, driven by strong performances from both Stella Artois and Budweiser.

Paula Lindenberg, president, ABInbev UK & Ireland, said: “Our UK business achieved double-digit top line growth in 2018, with strong performances from our global brands, craft portfolio and Bud Light.”

She said Stella Artois was “the fastest growing beer brand in retail last year”, while Budweiser was “the top contributor to category growth in the off-trade over the summer”.

Stella Artois sales were aided by the brand’s continued partnership with iconic sporting events like Wimbledon and its new Joie de Biere advertising campaign. The producer also rolled out a Gluten Free variant last year.

Budweiser, the Official Beer of the FIFA World Cup, had its new addition to the portfolio last year: the alcohol-free Budweiser Prohibition. In addition, the producer said 42% of Budweiser off-trade shoppers over the summer were new to lager completely.

Lindenberg said: “Our third global brand, Corona, continues to grow consistently year-on-year, thanks to its premium positioning, iconic lime ritual and its pledge to protect paradise from marine plastic pollution – a cause that we’ll be investing even more in this year.

“We also expanded our low-alcohol beer portfolio, as part of the burgeoning consumer trend for moderation and our Global Smart Drinking Goal of no-alcohol and low-alcohol beer forming 20% of our volumes by 2025.”

Lindenburg also noted the producer’s craft and speciality brands also had a good year, and she highlighted strong performances from Camden Hells Lager, Camden Pale Ale and Goose Island IPA.

She also said the company has “big ambitions” for Michelob Ultra in the UK. ABInbev brought the brand over from the US in October last year.

Looking at ABInbev’s global results, the company reported revenue growth of 4.8% with pre-tax profits up 7.9%. It said approximately 8% of its global beer volume in 2018 was no and low-alcohol and it will continue to increase its focus on global health and wellness trends.

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