Despite the fact that the COVID-19 coronavirus has nothing whatsoever to do with Corona, the parent company of the Mexican lager has nonetheless suffered a crushing financial loss due to the growing pandemic.
Anheuser-Busch InBev (A-B InBev), the international producer and distributor of Corona beer, reported Thursday that a decline in Chinese on- and off-premise beer sales has cost the company upwards of $285 million since the outbreak. (Corona is produced and distributed by Constellation Brands in the U.S.) The sales slump could lead to A-B InBev’s worst quarter in a decade.
Sales of Corona, which in China is classified as a “super premium” beer, saw strong growth in 2019, based primarily on its popularity at bars and nightclubs. With the advent of the coronavirus quarantines, however, which coincided with the normally-festive (and profitable) Lunar New Year, that trend quickly reversed.
Still, A-B InBev remains optimistic that it can weather the storm, and has begun to reopen its breweries in China. “We’re fully engaged for a strong recovery when the situation improves,” CEO Carlos Brito told reporters.