A-B maybe should have held out.
That's overstating things for effect, but A-B is looking very good right now, in its last days as an independent company before the meeting at the end of the month that will seal its acquisition by InBev. I see in a report from Morgan Stanley this morning that A-B kicked macrobrewer ass over Labor Day, up 1.2% in volume. Coors continued to do well, but big declines on the Miller side of the house put MillerCoors down 3.9% overall. Corona continued its slide: volume is down 7.3% (maybe they shouldn't have been so quick to dump long-time importer Gambrinus Company?). This, in the shadow of an overall beer market decline of 1.6%.
What's behind a lot of this? Surprise: Bud Light Lime. The new lime light is doing well, and throttling last year's macrobeer success story, Miller Chill, while apparently sucking share from Corona as well. Pretty strong moves for a beer that just came out in May. BLL will probably fade when the weather cools, like Chill did, but after blowing up this summer like it did, I'm hesitant to count the stuff out.
Oh, and craft beer? The numbers for the first half of 2008 from the Brewers Association (which, remember, don't count sales of Goose Island, Craft Brewers Alliance, Old Dominion, Blue Moon...) show craft beer up 11%. So, guys: are we at 4% of the market yet?