It's the much smaller brands that are hurting (and ABIB has a LOT of them: "A-B sells about 70 brands that collectively make up less than 1 percent of its total volume, Insights reported."). Some have been cut already, and others are headed to the block (could this finally be the end of Bud Dry, which clings to life in some isolated regional markets?). Here are the numbers from Information Resources Inc.:
Landshark Lager volumes are down 23 percent for the 13 weeks through July 12; Bud Chelada is down 27 percent, and Bud Light Chelada is down 12 percent. And Tilt brands, [now] without caffeine, are suffering serious declines of between 30 percent and 50 percent. Bacardi Silver Mojito is down 30 percent. Michelob Ultra still about even, but Michelob Ultra Amber is down 25 percent. Bass is down 24 percent, Beck's is down 7 percent and Rolling Rock is down 8.5 percent for 13 weeks. Michelob is down 36 percent, Michelob Light is down 28.5 percent and Michelob Amber Bock is down 25 percent for 13 weeks. Bud Select is down 14 percent for 13 weeks.Bud Select's down? How can they tell? Stella was up 14%, BTW, and the much-despised (by the entire geekerie) Shocktop more than doubled over last year (seriously, Shocktop is the whipping boy for "faux craft" hate).
Wow. There's a lot of room for cutting losses and changing focus. Time to fish or cut bait on this stuff, and stop clogging the distribution channels and fogging the message. You can bet that the Brazilians are going to take a machete to this brand jungle.
Didn't hear anything about Budweiser American Ale, though the numbers I saw for last year were not bad. Let's end on the strangest note of all, though: Bud Ice is up 34 percent. What?