Turns out Anheuser-Busch InBev isn’t as invulnerable to market forces as previously believed. The Belgian based beer conglomerate announced poor sales for the third quarter, and has lost part of its market share in the U.S., which incidentally is the company’s largest market. Consumer taste and preference has been moving away from Budweiser and Bud Light to local and craft beer over the years. The Wall Street Journal reports that third quarter sales were down 5.7 percent from 2016, and a 0.8% loss in U.S. market share has only exacerbated problems for the company.
AB InBev purchased their primary competitor SABMiller last year for $103 billion, and the acquisition has somewhat softened the blow from a poor third quarter performance. While the company has put part of the blame for poor third quarter sales on hurricanes Harvey and Irma, that’s not the only thing impacting sales.
The craft beer renaissance in the U.S. has led to significantly more, and better, choices than Budweiser and Bud Light, and the craft beer-loving crowd has continued to grow. Indignation toward the large beer corporation has led to movements such as the Brewers Association’s Take Craft Beer Back campaign, which is attempting to crowd-fund $213 billion to purchase AB InBev. Resentment toward big beer compounded with the rising popularity and sales of local and craft beer, may compel AB InBev to make some tough financial decisions if fourth quarter sales don’t fair any better.