Premium beers boost sales at A-B InBev

The world’s biggest brewer, Anheuser-Busch InBev, said increased sales of premium lagers in Brazil and China offset weak volumes in Europe and North America for its first quarter.Despite a drop overall volumes of 1.2 percent, both Europe and North America fell by 6 percent, the company sold more of its higher priced international brands. Profit attributable to shareholders was US$2.29 billion for the first three months of the year, up from $1.4bn in 2014.Flagship beer Budweiser now commands higher sales volumes internationally than inside the US, with exports increasing by more than 6 percent in the quarter.

China and Brazil continue to be important markets for A-B InBev’s premium brands, with the latter its second largest beer market in terms of profit. Volume sales in Brazil were stable, although the company managed to increase revenue per hectolitre by about 11 percent.

Meanwhile in China, the brewer increased volume sales despite a relatively weak overall market. Its focus on premium beers, where it has more than half of the market in the country, resulted in a 10 percent increase in revenue per hectolitre.

The brewer said it expects volumes in the US and Mexico to improve this year. Sales in Mexico were up 2.1 percent for the period, with the strongest performance for its Bud Light and Victoria brands.